President calls Shinde, Sibal for consultation

Terming the ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs as “immoral and unconstitutional”, the BJP on Thursday said President Pranab Mukherjee is not “duty-bound” to give assent to it and suggested to him that he should send it back to the government.

BJP Parliamentary Party chief L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley met Mr. Mukherjee and submitted to him a memorandum on the issue. They gave reasons as to why the ordinance should not have been approved by the Cabinet and requested him to refer it back to the government.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr. Advani said, “As Sushma Swaraj has said earlier, this ordinance is prima facie unconstitutional and we oppose it.” He added that it has been brought to negate the Supreme Court verdict and to permit convicted MPs to continue in office.

In the memorandum, the BJP has pointed out that a bill on the issue is pending in the Rajya Sabha and has been referred by the chairperson to a standing committee.

“What was the urgency that the government was compelled to bring this legislation through the ordinance route? The only compelling reason for bypassing Parliament and taking the ordinance route is to help a class of tainted politicians who have been already convicted or are apprehensive of a court judgement in near future,” the memorandum said.

Ms. Swaraj described the ordinance as “immoral and unconstitutional”. She said the talks with President Mukherjee on the issue were good and that he has assured that he will examine the matter.

Mr. Jaitley maintained that the President is not “duty-bound” to give assent to this Ordinance as it goes against provisions of the Constitution and he should refer it back to the government with his comments.

Ministers to brief Pranab

After meeting the BJP delegation, Mr. Mukherjee called Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Law Minister Kapil Sibal for consultations on the issue.

The two ministers will give the President a briefing on the need for bringing the ordinance, official sources said.

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