Centre to seek review of barring jailbirds from elections

Centre to seek review of barring jailbirds from elections

The central government will approach the apex court to review its judgment barring jailed politicians from contesting elections, the head of a parliamentary committee on law said here Friday.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Goa's lone Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik also said that the Right To Information Act would also be amended, either during the forthcoming parliament session or by ordinance, to ensure that political parties are kept outside the ambit of the information law.

"The government will approach the (Supreme) Court and request it to review its judgment," Naik said, adding that the Congress would take the lead in the matter.
He did not rule out an all-party approach on the issue, and argued that the judgment would be politically misused by those in power.

"An opposition politician will be put in police custody by the ruling people, and then his political career would be finished," the chairman of the parliamentary committee on law said.

In a landmark judgment Thursday, the Supreme Court barred politicians who were in lawful custody, whether convicted or not, from contesting elections.

This judgment accompanied another ground-breaking verdict, which disqualifies politicians from contesting elections if they are convicted by trial courts, even if they have gone in appeal.

Naik also said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government would either by amendment or by ordinance, alter the Right to Information (RTI) Act to ensure that political parties continue to stay exempt from the ambit of the law.

"If the deadline given by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) to political parties to appoint a public information officer is close, we may even issue an ordinance," Naik said, adding that there was a general consensus amongst political parties that the RTI Act should not apply to them.

A recent chief information commissioner's ruling bringing seven political parties under the RTI Act and asking them to appoint a Public Information Officer was met with united opposition from the political class.

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