Bill on disqualification of lawmakers deferred in RS

Bill on disqualification of lawmakers deferred in RS

Consideration of a bill which seeks to negate a Supreme Court judgement on immediate disqualification of lawmakers upon conviction by the Rajya Sabha was deferred today as the opposition pressed for detailed discussion on the crucial issue. The bill will now be taken up tomorrow.

As soon as Law Minister Kapil Sibal started moving the Representation of the People (Second Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, at 7.30 PM, BJP members said the allocation of one hour for the important legislation was not enough and it should be taken up tomorrow.

Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, supported by other members like Naresh Aggarwal (SP), said there was need for a detailed discussion.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said allocation of one hour was decided by the Business Advisory Committee. Opposition members said such an important bill should not be passed in haste.

Thawar Chand Gehlot (BJP) said the BAC had allocated three hours for Food Security Bill but the Chair had extended it to six hours. He questioned why then the Chair could not extend the debate time for this bill.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said if members do not want the bill to be taken up, the House could take up another bill of the Finance Ministry.
The bill, related to an appointment in SEBI Tribunal, would not require much time, he said.

This was agreed to and the SEBI (Amendment) Bill, 2013 was passed without discussion.

Sibal, who earlier rose to speak on his RP Amendment bill, said it was necessitated because of a recent judgement of Supreme Court while hearing a PIL.

In its July 10 verdict, the Supreme Court had struck down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.

The apex court also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.

Sibal said as per the proposed legislation, convicted MPs and MLAs cannot be disqualified immediately after the verdict even though they will be barred from voting in the House and drawing their salary and allowances till their appeal is pending before a higher court and sentence is stayed.

He said the amendments were in line with some orders of the apex court where elected representatives after conviction in certain offences had been debarred from voting, salary and allowances allowed to participate in proceedings.

Supreme Court had yesterday refused to entertain a review petition filed by the government in this regard.