Constitution bench to decide on lawmakers' disqualification

Constitution bench to decide on lawmakers' disqualification

Constitution bench to decide  on lawmakers' disqualification

The Supreme Court on Tuesday left it for the Constitution bench to decide if MPs/MLAs could be disqualified before the conviction with the framing of charges.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice Ranjan Gogoi noted that the issue involved the larger question of law, which could be determined by the Constitution bench. The court referred the matter to the Chief Justice for setting up a Constitution bench.

A petition by NGO Public Interest Foundation pleaded for disqualifying the law-makers charged with heinous offences. It relied upon the recommendation of  the Law Commission, which has opined that MPs and MLAs, charged by the trial court with offences entailing more than five years’ jail term, should stand disqualified.

The apex court had earlier directed in March, 2014 for completion of trials in cases involving sitting MPs and MLAs within a year of framing of charges.

A sitting MP or MLA stands disqualified as soon as he or she is held guilty of the offences specified under the Representation of People Act.

The petitioner has questioned the practices of making a legislator, facing trial in various penal provisions, for ministers.

BJP leader and advocate Ashwani Kumar Updhaya has also filed a plea seeking a direction to the the Centre and others “to bring in electoral reform and to make rules... and Code of Conduct for de-criminalization and de-communalization of politics and for eradication of corruption, casteism and nepotism from electoral system.”

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