Convicted MPs may retain LS seats for now

Convicted MPs may retain LS seats for now

Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal-United leader Jagdish Sharma, convicted in the fodder scam case, may continue to remain Lok Sabha members for a few more weeks despite Attorney General G E Vahanvati recommending their immediate disqualification in view of a Supreme Court order.

Vahanvati on Friday suggested that the Lok Sabha should immediately issue a notification declaring seats occupied by the two convicted MPs vacant. He made it clear that, according to a Supreme Court verdict, MPs stood disqualified from the day of their conviction. Hence, the notification should be issued immediately.

A delay could mean non-compliance with the apex court order, he warned. Vahanvati said following the apex court judgment mandating immediate disqualification of legislators convicted for offences punishable with more than two-year jail terms, there was no scope for “any interpretation.”

“The question of conviction and sentence being stayed by a higher court while hearing an appeal is not relevant at this juncture.”

“It can be addressed separately as and when that stage arises, at the moment immediate disqualification is the law and it can’t be postponed for any reason,” he said..

The Lower House is yet to start the disqualification process. 

“No action has been initiated in this regard so far as we received the attorney general’s letter only on Friday evening and office went on weekend holidays the next day,” said sources in the Lok Sabha secretariat.

Further action will be initiated on Monday, but the entire procedure could take time as it was a “complicated” legal matter, which required proper paper work, sources said.

“We will have to prepare the draft of the notification mentioning relevant provisions of the Constitution of India and the Representation of People’s Act, among other technical things. It’s a whole lot of technical work.

Then the draft will have to be placed before competent authority for clearance. It will then be sent for legal vetting after which the notification may be issued,” they added. 

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