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Updated: August 9, 2013 19:44 IST

Govt mulls constitutional amendment on disqualification

PTI
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With the Election Commission implementing the Supreme Court judgement on disqualification of convicted MLAs and MPs, government is working overtime to negate the order by seeking a review and even trying to bring parties on board for a constitutional amendment. Photo; Shanker Chakravarty
The Hindu With the Election Commission implementing the Supreme Court judgement on disqualification of convicted MLAs and MPs, government is working overtime to negate the order by seeking a review and even trying to bring parties on board for a constitutional amendment. Photo; Shanker Chakravarty

With the Election Commission implementing the Supreme Court judgement on disqualification of convicted MLAs and MPs, government is working overtime to negate the order by seeking a review and even trying to bring parties on board for a constitutional amendment.

Highly placed sources in the Law Ministry said on Friday that while the government is likely to file a review in the coming days, it is also mulling the option of bringing a constitutional amendment bill if it gets the support of the political parties.

While there is unanimity among political parties against the SC verdict, government would move cautiously before amending the Constitution.

In its July 10 verdict, the apex court had struck down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.

It had also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.

“We also hold that the provisions of Article 101(3) (a) and 190(3) (a) of the Constitution expressly prohibit Parliament to defer the date from which the disqualification will come into effect in case of a sitting member of Parliament or a State Legislature.

“Parliament, therefore, has exceeded its powers conferred by the Constitution in enacting sub-section (4) of Section 8 of the (RP) Act and accordingly sub-section (4) of Section 8 of the Act is ultra vires to the Constitution,” it had said.

The Constitutional amendment bill is likely to deal with this part of the judgement.

“Talks with various political parties are on...whatever decision is taken will be based on consensus,” Law Minister Kapil Sibal had said recently on the issue.

He had made it clear that the government may approach the apex court for a review of its order and also go for a “legislative remedy” by amending the current laws.

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This is a dangerous game. What happens if the SC throws out the
proposed amendment on the grounds that it is violative of the basic
structure - i.e. the Constitution never intended convicted criminals to
sit in parliament. Will such a face off be good for anyone?

The only time politicians agree on anything is when they stand to
benefit.

from:  Arun Visvanathan
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 10:02 IST

The PTI report makes sad reading. When the electorate is getting quite unhappy - or even frustrated - about entry of a large number of persons with criminal records in the political arena, the Government seems to be seriously considering amendment of the law to overturn the Supreme Court judgement of 10th July. Is the voter then to understand that many if not most of the political parties are then in favour of persons with criminal records entering legislatures and Parliament. If they are not in favour, then they should be seen to be acting differently.

from:  Prosenjit Das Gupta
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 07:17 IST

It is really unfortunate that a direction given by the highest court of
the land with good intentions is being neutralised by a group of
politicians with likely criminal background. Once elected, they can do
any nonsense. How does this court direction affect the politicians who
are not convicted in criminal cases? What are they afraid of? Do you
want the country being governed by criminals in addition to corrupt and
immoral politicians?

from:  Prof Mohandas
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 02:21 IST

This would be a farce if it happens! The Supreme court makes a sensible ruling and now the UPA wants to amend the constitution for adjudged criminals to stand for office. Way to go! Democracy is good, but we are beginning to realize that too much of it is not good either...

from:  Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 01:52 IST

This is totally ridiculous of all politicians and political parties to
bring in any amendment or patch up this decision of SC. They should
understand that people are watching. And when people react governments
change. They have election coming soon.
Any such move will further derail their lean chances to win this time.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 01:51 IST

Whats an irony...Government is lightening fast in amending constitution
for legislators cause but extremely slow on the bills like women
reservation,police reforms,judicial reforms etc.

from:  Mayank Gupta
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 01:32 IST

If government servents (executive)have to leave their jobs after conviction.Why cant this be valid for people in legislature.

from:  Albian
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 01:27 IST

No one is above the law, and we will fight for justice! To make sure
that everyone faces the law!

from:  Pradip
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 01:13 IST

The politicians are willing to even change the constitution to protect
themselves. This shows how desperate they are. I hope the Supreme Court
does not let them get away with this. This is one of the best judgement
from the Supreme Court. And fortunately, the Election Commission is
today an independent agency that is not afraid of politicians (unlike
all the bureaucrats we see on TV touching the feet of politicians in UP
and other places).

from:  Mohan
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 01:07 IST

Its ironical that the government on the matters of crucial national issues seldom bothers to seek cooperation or constructive ideas from various political parties and on other part opposition parties are hardly seen contributing towards effective utilisation of time of the parliament. However hon SC's 10th July judgement has made such a blow to the criminalisation of politics that threat of survival has made them united to even go for constitutional amendment. After 66 years of independence last hope of indian citizen to get rid of gundaraaj seems to be scuttling and the present government is merely facilitating its slow sinking...

from:  Tejas Bhandari
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 00:52 IST

it is a good opportunity provided by the supreme court to our
politicians and government to clean their house. we could have used the
verdict to make stringent law against criminals entering the temple of
democracy but it seems that we have a long way to go before becoming
such a mature democracy where ideology and simplicity would be given
preference over money and muscles.

from:  kamlakant pandey
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 00:49 IST

Absolute anarchy is going on in this country.The politicians are considering themselves as Gods.We scrapped the kings
and monarchs system.But politicians have become Sultans and think that voting public are their slavesIt is ridiculous that securing just 20% of votes in constituencies they call themselves as people"s representatives. Young Indian voters should teach these net has a lesson in 2014.

from:  N.J.Aravamudan
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 00:39 IST

The politicians should be ashamed to even consider such a constitutional
amendment. Any person convicted of a crime is not fit to be in any
office, especially the government. Every citizen (except the criminals,
of course) should challenge the government against any amendment to this
law and protect our nation.

from:  Ravi Shankar
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 00:30 IST

Beware of the number game. Once the criminal elements are given a foothold over the course of time there may be one criminal too many and the criminals may outnumber the not-so-criminals. Then the criminals may pass their own laws and abrogate the existing constitution. Once the point of no return is reached no matter how much the good people cry one cannot reverse what would have happened by then. It is like giving a criminal a gun and the right to kill. You cannot get back the gun. In fact after Feb 1917 revolution in Russia Karensky gave guns to his father's protege Lenin and comrades to fight the rightists. And by November Lenin and company refused to give back the guns,usurped the power from Karensky and made him flee Russia. It is easier to maitain one's ground than to regain the lost ground.

from:  T.S.Krishnaswamy
Posted on: Aug 10, 2013 at 00:29 IST

Supreme Court should make sure these thugs do not try and amend the constitution.
There must be some provision in the constitution that does not allow these thugs to keep
amending as per their whims and fancies. If not time has come to junk the constitution.All
talk of Parliamentary Democracy is bunkum.

from:  Srinivasan Ganeshan
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 23:46 IST

Remarkable show of unity among st the political class. Its sheer
desperation and wanton display of contempt at the intent of the
Honorable SC. Sincerely wish that this very Political Class of India
works for the real upliftment of the underprivileged, provide basic
services free of corruption and above all live upto the enshrined
doctrines of the Constitution, which they wish to amend at their wanton
will.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:58 IST

It is natural that pirates will gang up and subvert any attempt to being order on the high seas. But it is tragic is it is attempted in a democracy like India. For years the provision has been in the statue and successive CECs and reform groups have drawn attention to the need to amend the Act. The government lacked the will, especially because it is is beholden t coalition parties studded with criminals. But once an opportunity is given by the highest court through a ruling, one would expect the government to seize the opportunity and abide by it. If any attempt is made to annul the SC judgment, it would be sad day for our democracy. However, there is hope that such an amendment will be struck down by the SC.

from:  K. Subramanian
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:56 IST

What is the point if all the parties together change the Constitution
as per their wish and will..

Do they even think passing an amendment which benefits the common man..

from:  Raja
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:49 IST

By having unanimity against the apex court verdict barring the tainted MP's and MLA's from contesting in elections the political parties seem to have forgotten what our constitution demands. The sole aim of the apex court decision is that there should not be any taint of criminality in our parliament. We all should be in favour of cleanliness. The People of this country must believe that our polity is clean. Even if some innocent MP's or MLA's come under the ambit of this decision there are some constitutional safeguards to protect them. Many of our innocent civil servants remian suspended until their trial goes on so why can't our representatives (MP's) be suspended until proved innocent. We all should pledge that whatsoever be the final decision we will not help even a single tainted person to represent us in the parliament.

from:  Malay Shankar Tripathi
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:44 IST

Now, people punished by the law will amend the law.

from:  R.K. Kannaujiya
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:40 IST

It is sad, that for a cause like this all the political parties will get together. Can our country not function without convicted politicians? Yes, we do have a problem of politically motivated cases being filed on politicians. But seriously, it is difficult to get the guilty convicted in this country often, it is hard for me to see a politician getting convicted wrongly.
It would be interesting to see if this legal remedy gets through the parliament. The politicians should embrace this along with gladly coming under RTI to make politics cleaner.

from:  Sailesh Akkaraju
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:38 IST

I am sure by constitutional amendment politicians will almost nullify the interest of the SC verdict. Because everyone wants to be in power at any rate. No politician is going to vote in support of SC verdict. See they are working overnight to save their ass. SC should, better to Fast Track Courts for such pending cases, and if politicians are convicted by higher courts as well they forced to step down immediately. Fast track courts similar to rape/molestation cases, after all politicians are doing the same to the country.

from:  RAJESH KUMAR
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:31 IST

Soldiers died at border and police officers during their duty . IAS are being punished for their works but only politicians are immortal and this is another step to increase their immortality.

from:  Arun Nehra
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:26 IST

The Supreme Court of India should strike down any Act or Law that may
be passed by the Parliament to facilitate Criminalisation of
Politics.A Law Maker has to have the highest degree of
Credibility/Integrity/Honesty & Truthfulness. A Criminal Politician or
A criminal minded person can not certainly become a competent Law
Maker.In simple language A Law Breaker can not certainly & should not
on any account be allowed or facilitated to become A Law Maker.If
Parliament has to remain a Noble Institution ,Keep off the Criminals
from entering the same.Strictly bar the entry of all Criminal elements
& all our Political Parties should feel ashamed at trying to undo a
very noble ordered by our Supreme Court through attempts to amend the
Provisions to facilitate Criminal elements to enter the August Body &
shame the image & integrity of the nation.

from:  Krishnan
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:25 IST

"While there is unanimity among political parties against the SC
verdict, government would move cautiously before amending the
Constitution". Allowing convicted criminals to make laws is what unites
the political parties. Bapu would be glad that he is not alive to see
this day !!

from:  Jay
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:18 IST


Over 30% of the sitting MPs and MLAs having criminal background, obviously all
Political parties will seek and support constitutional amendment in their favor.
Main concern being the Nation and its development, with the backdrop of so many
corruptions exposed, of late, and more so because there is an increasing trend and
political personalities are shameless in these practices, (PM himself justifying it as a
'coalition compulsions') and corruption is so being patronized, nothing less than a Peoples' Referendum should be the deciding factor for accepting any constitutional amendment.

from:  K.V.Ramadoss
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:16 IST

Indian politics is often described as chaotic. More than a fifth of parliament members face some criminal charges and around 40 of them are accused with serious criminal charges. This is from Wikipedia so how can you have law and order if criminals are elected.

from:  Anjaneyulu
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:04 IST

The verdict of Supreme Court has been accepted widely by public and they should not get disappointed now. The politicians' petition should be ruled out.

from:  Harsha Vardhan
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 22:03 IST

Can some one post the list of MPs and MLAs with their party names that are impacted by the decision? We will have a better picture then who is trying to amend the laws.

from:  Sam
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:55 IST

Though the act of politicians is not surprising, it is very glad to know that Executive and the Judiciary wing of the government is for the people. I respect the officials'efforts in doing so inspite of all the hardships. Peace!

from:  Raja
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:37 IST

it sound something like " chor ki daadi me tinka". equality before the
law is fundamental in a decent democracy. but by attempting to do this
unethical act politicians are making it obvious what they stand for.
they may brag about democracy on tv shows but when it comes to law they
do not want to be among the common man. since they they believe are the
privileged class. really shameful!

from:  Pankaj
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:33 IST

i don't know why india is so proud of its democracy......

from:  suraj
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:32 IST

What a farce. Criminals in government want to continue to rule by filing frivolous appeals and using delaying tactics so that they can continue to be ministers and office holders. This in a country where undertrials are locked up for years before they see a magistrate at all. If an MP and can afford bail, even conviction and sentencing by a magistrate can be indefinitely postponed while the criminal can hold government office, contest elections and murder a few more people while in office. The gall of the government to try to get the constitutional amendment to accommodate criminals is, simply, galling.

from:  Vijay Kumar Ghosh
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:24 IST

People should vote for the following political parties for clean governance: 1. Parties who are in favour of full RTI without any amendments for the political parties, accountability and transparency in all their dealings ; 2. Parties that are in favour of a strong Janlokpal as per Anna Hazare Team ; 3. Parties that are in favour of Swaraj as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation ; 4. Parties that support “Right to Recall” and “Right to Reject” provisions in the election manifesto ; 5. Parties that disallow persons having criminal taints from contesting in the elections ; 6. Parties that are not in coalition politics. The judiciary should uphold the constitutional principles for the good of Aam Aadmi and negate the political supremacy and pressure.

from:  DORAI
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:19 IST

If the politicians try to negate the supreme court order where is the rule of law. Who is going to protect the public? What for the democratic system? What is the point to say India is a biggest democracy? President of India should see that these politicians do not win in this matter. The irony of it is that all the politicians are supporting the govt. They cannot unite in what is good for the country but they unite what is good for them. God save India from this type of politicians.

from:  Dr K Natarajan
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 21:12 IST

And there goes the powerless judiciary squashed and mashed up by the
constitutionally erected mafia (read the parliament...)

from:  mayukh
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:54 IST

Govt. should seriously amend the constitution to make it mandatory to
have criminal record to enter Parliament, Assembly and so on. After all,
DEMOCRACY is the government of the criminals, by the criminals, for the
criminals.

from:  Rao C V C
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:42 IST

How can the people Stop this.Even the justice can't save India.This is becoming an habit for this government to change the constitution to break the verdict.This what happens when people elect such people. God save India.

from:  Sudarsan
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:35 IST

Nothing less can be expected by a government of crooks and by the crooks.

from:  Ramarao Chodavarapu
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:28 IST

The politicians and political parties are raising arms against the Supreme Court for the decision against the protection of convicted politicians. Politicians have no special rights. Even if the government and politicians try to over ride the Supreme Court decision by constitutional amendment, the constitutional amendment will be violation of the constitution that provide equality to all under the law. The morality of politicians is so low that the politicians will provide their special rights to criminals also so that there is no special treatment to politicians or criminals. Even then, the Supreme Court can strike down the provision granting equal rights to politicians and criminals on other legal grounds. Only the supreme court is on the side of the general public, not the government, politicians or political parties.

from:  Davis K. Thanjan
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:16 IST

Why is no one from Civil society raising voice against this step of
government? We all were hailing Supreme court's decisions which would
have helped in cleaning Politics in the country. And now the
government has invented another tool (constitution amendment) to even
get away with these decisions as well.

I am sorry to say but I really feel this political class doesn't
represent people of India any more. With every passing day, I am
loosing my faith in our democratic systems. If criminals are going to
take decisions about our country in a democracy, then we surely have
to look into some other ways of governing our country.

from:  Sanjeev Bansal
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:14 IST

thieves of the World! Unite ! seems to be the clarion call of this beleagured UPA Governmen twhich is stuttering and wobbling from one step to another in its effort to survive its full quota of governance. Instead of taking the Supreme Court's admonition in the proper spirit and and contrary ti its professed intent to eradicate corruption as a national curse, the Government is actually twisting and trying hard to almost make it a holy institution,fit at best to be shoved under the carpet. In its effort to carry on till 2014. The congress is only creating a monster for us Indians to suffer for generations to come.What a fall for this pristine GOP!!!

from:  L.KRISHNAMOORTHY
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:09 IST

The nation will and should take the future passing of such an amendment as evidence of guilt on the part of government as well as opposition. No corrupt politician would allow this self-incriminating amendment to be added - this would indeed be the litmus test for our leaders which would tell the public who to trust and who to not.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 20:07 IST

How selfish and greedy are the politicians!!! They want a separate law unto themselves even if they are declared as a culprit just because they are elected by some means. Who will show a broader insight and come out openly in favour of the Supreme court judegement which is an eye opener to our sleeping janta ?

from:  S V Venkatesh
Posted on: Aug 9, 2013 at 19:59 IST
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