PIL seeks to pre-empt ordinance on jailed politicos

An advocate on Wednesday filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court urging it to quash the moves initiated by the Union Cabinet to promulgate an ordinance to nullify the Supreme Court order for immediate disqualification of MPs and MLAs convicted in criminal cases.

M L Sharma, who had earlier filed PILs on coalgate and FDI, described the government move as “unconstitutional and mala fide” as it was intended to nullify the July 10 judgment of the Supreme Court quashing Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act.

“It is a fraud upon the Constitution by the political leaders to promote their vested interests...,” he contended.

“The criminalisation of politics continues to be a big concern with the  number of MPs facing serious criminal cases going up. The reason political parties do not want to stop criminals from joining Parliament or State Assemblies is because they want to use them to win more seats,” the petition alleged.

It contended that Article 123 of the Constitution on powers to promulgate ordinance must be invoked only in extraordinary, emergency circumstances and there existed none on September 24, 2013, when the Cabinet gave its nod to the ordinance.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party also plans to file a PIL against the ordinance proposal. “We will first try to convince the President that he should not sign the ordinance. We are hopeful he will agree. If he does not, we will approach the apex court,” said Kejriwal at a press conference Tuesday.

He alleged that the ordinance is being brought to save RJD leader Lalu Prasad and Congress leader Rashid Masood. Masood has been convicted by a CBI court and Prasad is awaiting the verdict in fodder scam case.

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