To help Punjab legislators hold several new categories of the offices of profit, Punjab Cabinet on Tuesday approved amendments in the existing law in order to add more categories which MLAs can hold without inviting disqualification.

“The Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 will be tabled in the forthcoming session of the Punjab Assembly following the Cabinet nod to it,” said an official spokesperson.

The state Cabinet met on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. As per the proposed amendments in the Bill, various categories of the offices of profit would be added to the current list of positions or offices which the MLAs can hold without inviting disqualification, the spokesperson added.

The amendments are aimed at addressing the complexities of the modern day governance and include incorporation of a new Section 1A to provide for the definitions of the terms “compensatory allowance”, “statutory body” and “non-statutory body”, he said.

The Punjab Cabinet also approved amendments to Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to make sacrilege of all religious texts punishable with life imprisonment.

The spokesperson said it will be a major step towards curbing such incidents and maintaining communal harmony in the state.

He said the Cabinet has approved insertion of Section 295AA to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to provide that “whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Geeta, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people, shall be punished with imprisonment for life.”

Meanwhile, taking serious note of the recent seizure of spurious milk and dairy products from a Patiala factory, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Tuesday directed the concerned officers to explore ways of amending the law on food adulteration to make it more stringent.

The directive came during a meeting of the state cabinet, which took serious note of seizure of adulterated food in Patiala and other places, and mooted stringent punishment for such offences.

Noting that the subject of food adulteration was covered by a central legislation, the CM asked the officers to work out the best possible ways to deal more strictly with such cases.

Even preservatives used for storage of fish were poisonous and dangerous for human consumption in the long run, it was pointed out during the discussion by the cabinet members, who were unanimous in underlining the need for strong measures to check such offences.