President stand vindicated?

Is President Pranab Mukherjee’s stand to seek clarification from the government on the ordinance to shield convicted politicians from disqualification vindicated as the Centre may have to reconsider their move post dissent from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi?

The BJP believes that the President was “not willing to sign the ordinance” aimed at undoing a Supreme Court verdict striking provisions in the Representation of People Act,1951, disqualifying lawmakers as it is laced with legal infirmities. 

The ordinance, on the contrary, allows MPs and MLAs to retain membership of the Parliament or Legislature after a criminal conviction, if (a) an appeal against the conviction is filed by them before a court within 90 days and (b) the appeal is stayed by the court.

Even on Friday morning, Congress leaders were busy defending the ordinance despite the President’s objections. The ruling party’s view took a u-turn after Rahul Gandhi’s sudden outburst which was embarrassing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as it gave an impression that his views were ignored.

The ordinance passed by the Cabinet on Tuesday is with the President who had raised pointed questions on the Constitutional validity of the measure brought at a time when a similar legislation introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament is pending before the standing committee. 

Singh said he will look into the matter once he returns from the US, indicating that the government might withdraw it.

Top BJP leaders had met the President on Friday to handover a memorandum demanding him not to sign the ordinance.  

An ordinance lapses if it is not approved by Parliament within six weeks of it reassembling.

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