Sept. 25: SC verdict on debarring lawmakers

PILs has sought the apex court's direction to debar and disqualify MPs and MLAs from contesting polls as soon as they are charged with criminal offences for murder, rape etc by a trial court

A five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra would deliver the judgement on a PIL filed by NGO PIL Foundation and Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, among others. Reuters file photo

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will pronounce its judgement on a batch of PILs seeking directions to debar and disqualify MPs and MLAs from contesting polls as soon as they are charged with criminal offences for murder, rape etc by a trial court.

A five-judge Constitution bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra would deliver the judgement on a PIL filed by NGO PIL Foundation and Delhi BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, among others.

The petitioners have claimed the criminalisation of politics negated the principle of democracy and the basic structure of the Constitution. They said the right to vote, if not a constitutional, was certainly a statutory right which gets affected by the candidates, facing criminal charges. How can such candidates take an oath to uphold the Constitution, they asked.

Under the Representation of People Act, only a convicted person is debarred from contesting elections for Parliament and state Assembly constituencies.

During the hearing, the Union government, represented by Attorney General K K Venugopal contended though the indefinite delay in cases against MPs and MLAs was being addressed by setting up special courts, any change in law should be left for the legislators to decide. He had cited Section 7 of the Representation of the People which specifically laid down the conditions for disqualifications of the MPs and MLAs. He said no other condition can be added to it as there is a presumption of innocence till proved guilty under our criminal jurisprudence.

The petitioners contended, if not Parliament, then the Election Commission can be asked to prescribe the criteria to derecognise the political parties for giving tickets to those facing criminal charges.

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Sept. 25: SC verdict on debarring lawmakers

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