SC verdict disqualified MPs and MLAs convicted in criminal case , barred those in custody from polls

Parties across the political spectrum have agreed to amend the Representation of the People Act to overturn a Supreme Court verdict barring people in police or judicial custody from contesting elections. At an all-party meeting here on Tuesday, the government also received backing for its proposal to amend the Act to negate the impact of the verdict that ordered the immediate disqualification of MPs and MLAs on conviction in a criminal case — without being given three months’ time for appeal, as was the case before.

On Monday the Centre filed a petition asking the court to reconsider its judgement.

These were among four issues that were discussed at the meeting convened by the government to firm up a view on contentious issues. The proposed Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, which seeks to replace the collegium system, the Supreme Court order on reservation in AIIMS faculty and the Patna High Court order barring a candidate arrested even for a day from contesting elections were the other issues.

Many parties suggested that the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The issue of Robert Vadra’s controversial land deals in Haryana was also raised by Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. The Left parties maintained that the government should not have objections if the issue was raised.

“There is consensus on the bills on reservation in AIIMS. All parties demanded amendment in the Representation of the People Act. All political parties want judicial commission bill should be introduced in this session,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the meeting.

“The judiciary of this country allowed Italian marines, who are accused in the murder case of fishermen, to vote in Italy but the same judiciary did not allow a person who is convicted even for a day here. He has no right to vote. This is wrong,” Ms. Swaraj said.

Accusing the Congress and the BJP of match-fixing, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: “Only if these two parties want, the House functions. If they don’t, the House proceedings are disrupted.”

Mr. Yechury and Gurudas Dasgupta of the CPI said such issues as the hike in the prices of onions and other items, the declining rupee value, the falling rate of GDP growth and growing unemployment could not be raised in the House. “It is the government’s responsibility to make the House run and allow people’s issues to be raised,” Mr. Yechury said.

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