National

Poll panel backs life ban on convicts

Noting that it has been “championing the cause of decriminalisation of politics,” the Election Commission has endorsed a public interest litigation petition in the Supreme Court seeking life-long bar on convicts from contesting polls and entering the legislature.

In an affidavit filed recently before the Supreme Court on a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, the Election Commission agreed with the petitioner that such a uniform ban would be in the spirit of fundamental rights of the Constitution, including the right to equality.

As of now, a person, on conviction, is debarred from contesting any elections for the period of his or her prison sentence and six years thereafter. The Election Commission said it had already submitted detailed proposal for electoral reforms, which include de-criminalisation of politics, making bribery a cognisable offence and prohibition on advertisements 48 hours before elections and a strict ban on paid news as recommended by the Law Commission in its 244th and 255th reports.

The poll body said the plea for a lifetime ban on convicts was not adversarial and it fully supported the cause espoused by the petitioner.

On the plea for fixing the maximum age criteria and minimum educational qualification, the Election Commission said that the issue was in legislative domain and would require amendments to the Constitution.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 1:56:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/poll-panel-backs-life-ban-on-convicts/article17547637.ece

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