In what could give sleepless nights to tainted lawmakers in India, India’s Supreme Court Wednesday ruled that any lawmaker convicted shall be disqualified.
New Delhi, July 19/Nationalturk- In a significant and landmark judgement, India’s Supreme Court Wednesday ruled that any lawmaker convicted by any court of the country shall be disqualified.
The apex court struck down the provision that protects a lawmaker from disqualification even after conviction in a criminal case. However, lawmakers who have already filed appeals against their conviction before the pronouncement of today’s verdict will not get affected.
The Supreme Court also ordered that no one can fight elections from jail.
Apex court ruling bound to affect political parties
Today’s ruling is bound to pose headache to all political parties in India as several lawmakers (in Indian parliament and State assembles) have been convicted by the courts. “With today’s ruling, many lawmakers are bound to lose their seats”.
According to media report, out of 4835 lawmakers of parliament and Assemblies in India, 1448 are facing criminal cases. “Out of 543 parliament members, 162 have criminal cases pending against them with 75 facing serious criminal charges.
The Supreme Court’s verdict came in response to the petitions filed by Lily Thomas and NGO Lok Prahari. They had sought striking down of various provisions of Representation of the People Act (RPA), which protects a convicted lawmakers against disqualification, on the ground that they violate certain constitutional provisions which, among other things, expressly put a bar on criminals getting registered as voters or becoming lawmakers.
The two writ petitions were filed as Public Interest Litigations for mainly declaring sub-section (4) of Section 8 of RPA, 1951 as ultra vires the Constitution.
The major political parties have said they would react to the ruling after fully reading and analyzing and the verdict. However, former Indian chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi termed today’s Apex Court ruling a landmark verdict.
“The impact will be great in cleaning up the political system,” he said.
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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News