PIL in SC against ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers

Posted By: PTI
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New Delhi, Sept 25: A PIL was today filed in the Supreme Court for quashing the ordinance proceedings by the Union Cabinet for amending the law to protect convicted MPs and MLAs from facing immediate disqualification.

The petition said there was "no extra-ordinary emergency" circumstance to issue ordinance for amending Representation of the People Act and the ordinance process be declared "illegal and unconstitutional".

Seeking to quash the ordinance proceedings, advocate M L Sharma, who filed the PIL, said it was "unconstitutional and malafide" and a fraud was committed by the political leaders upon the Constitution for their "vested interest to demolish basic structure and fundamental right of the Constitution".

"The respondent (Principal Secretary, PMO and Union of India) has misused Article 123 and ordinance process which is not permitted under Constitution, therefore, impugned adopted ordinance process must be declared illegal and unconstitutional," the PIL said.

"On September 24, 2013 present ministry (Law), having ulterior vested interest and to nullify supreme court judgment dated July 10, 2013 called cabinet meeting and cleared an ordinance upon the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation Bill), 2013 to reverse the Supreme Court judgment that calls for immediate disqualification of lawmakers convicted of a criminal offence punishable with two years or more in jail. The ordinance allows convicted MPs/MLAs to continue if their appeal is admitted by a higher court within 90 days and the conviction stayed. However, They (MP/MLA) will not vote or draw salaries till the case is decided," it said.

The apex court had on July 10 ruled that an MP, an MLA or an MLC would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more.

The government had moved the apex court for a review earlier this month which was rejected. The Union Cabinet had yesterday approved an ordinance to protect convicted MPs and MLAs from facing immediate disqualification, which in effect negates an order of the Supreme Court.

The ordinance to undo the court's verdict was brought after the government failed to get a Bill to this effect passed in Parliament during the Monsoon Session.


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