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Updated: December 16, 2013 22:15 IST

Lawmakers’ disqualification: appeal dismissed

J. Venkatesan
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Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea seeking that its order on disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs be effective even in case of lawmakers who were held guilty of serious offences before the judgement. File photo
The Hindu Supreme Court on Monday turned down a plea seeking that its order on disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs be effective even in case of lawmakers who were held guilty of serious offences before the judgement. File photo

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a petition for disqualifying MPs and MLAs, convicted for criminal offences, without giving them the benefit of appeals pending in higher courts.

A Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and A.K. Sikri dismissed the petition filed by Lok Prahari, an NGO, through its general secretary S.N. Shukla.

On July 10, the court struck down as unconstitutional Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act that gives convicted lawmakers a three-month period for filing appeals in higher courts. The court made it clear that the ruling would be prospective [would apply to those convicted after July 10, 2013]. MPs/MLAs who had already filed appeals would be exempt from disqualification.

Section 8 deals with disqualification: A person convicted of the charge of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall remain so for six years after his release.

Seeking modification of the judgment, Lok Prahari said: “The exemption to the already convicted MPs/MLAs is not in accordance with Articles 101 and 190 of the Constitution which provide that the disqualification shall be effective instantly.”

Enclosing a list of 24 sitting lawmakers convicted for various offences, the petitioner said the judgment had created two classes of convicted lawmakers — those who lose their membership and those who can retain it — though both incurred disqualification. The effect of Section 8(4) of the RP Act, having been declared null and void, was different within the same category of the lawmakers.

He demanded that in the case of all sitting MPs/MLAs, the disqualification apply from the date of judgment and the judgment be made effective even in the cases of those who had incurred the debarment prior to the judgment.

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If people are ready to elect them and sent them to Parliament/Assemblies even after knowing well of their criminal antecedants.. who is at fault??? It is time that these people spend their energies educating people and not wasting the court's time.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Dec 16, 2013 at 23:31 IST

Power to legislate vests with Parliament and Assemblies. Members of
these august bodies have over the period degenerated in character.
Salt has lost its saltiness! Now to expect them to restore without any
outside intervention the original purity is asking for the moon. It is
not going to happen. Constitution has conferred certain rights to
these institutions and it is our misfortune these institutions have
fallen in to wrong hands. It is almost like the asuras winning boons
from Gods only to chase them! No Supreme Court, Election Commission,
CAG can ever rescue the people of India from the clutches of wrong
politicians who we notionally elect.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Dec 16, 2013 at 18:04 IST

It is settled principle of law that a judgment or legislation is always
effective with prospective effect. It cannot be implemented with
retrospective effect.

from:  Samina Yasmin
Posted on: Dec 16, 2013 at 17:50 IST

It is heartening to see that the SC has stood by the decision made earlier and not buckled under the political pressure! The highest law making institution, the parliament, must not give room to law breakers. If one does, the very nature and credibility of the institution will be tainted beyond repaire. Since the parliament had failed to stop the rot, the SC had rescued the parliament,the interest and the name of the nation. People would thank SC!

from:  Saratchandran
Posted on: Dec 16, 2013 at 16:59 IST

Power of Legislature to nullify or modify Apex rulings should be clipped
to save democracy.

from:  Chamaraj Bangi
Posted on: Dec 16, 2013 at 16:45 IST
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