‘Any delay will amount to non-compliance of court order’

Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati is said to have opined that the convicted MPs — Rasheed Masood, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Jagadish Sharma — should be disqualified without any further delay and the vacancy notified vis-à-vis Supreme Court’s July 10, 2013, verdict declaring ultra vires Section of the 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act. Informed sources said in his advice to the Parliament Secretariat, which was routed through the Law and Justice Ministry, the AG has pointed out that any delay in notifying the disqualification of the MPs would amount to non-compliance of the court order.

While Rasheed Masood is a Congress representative in the Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, Lalu represents RJD from Chapra Lok Sabha constituency and Jagadish Sharma was elected on a Janata Dal (United) ticket from Jahanabad (both in Bihar).

All the three MPs were convicted in corruption cases filed by the CBI and have been lodged in jail.

Section 8 (4) of the RP Act gives immunity to the convicted legislators from getting disqualified (in some criminal cases) provided they have filed an appeal in the higher court within 90 days of the trial court’s verdict.

But some officials dealing in legal matters in the parliament secretariat argue that it is the Law Ministry which has to issue the notification of disqualification after getting the nod of the President, because it is they [Law Ministry] who administer the RP Act along with the Election Commission.

Officials pointed out that in 2007, Samajwadi Party member in Rajya Sabha Jaya Bachan and BJP MP from Khargone Lok Sabha Seat (in Madhya Pradesh) Krishna Murari Moghe were disqualified on the office of profit issue, based on the opinion of the EC, and the notifications were issued by the Law Ministry.