'Ordinance on convicted lawmakers undesirable'

New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) Political activists Wednesday termed as "undesirable" the ordinance that would allow convicted members of parliament and state legislatures to retain their seats, and urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to sign it.

The cabinet passed the ordinance Tuesday to negate a Supreme Court order which disqualified MPs and MLAs if convicted in a criminal case.

Jagdeep Chhokar of the Association for Democratic Reforms told IANS: "I feel this (the ordinance) is wrong and undesirable."

The president should not sign the ordinance, he said.

Right to Information Activist (RTI) Subhash Agrawal said: "Union cabinet has left no stone unturned to prove that India has a unique type of democracy where it is a system for the politicians, by the politicians and of the politicians."

"President Pranab Mukherjee should rise to the occasion by declining to sign the anti-public ordinance. Or else, the Supreme Court can quiz the government for such useless ordinance which unnecessarily burdens public exchequers by having convicted leaders as show pieces," he said.

Justice Rajinder Sachar, former chief justice of the Delhi High Court, said: "It (the ordinance) is a violation of the democratic system."

"It is quite obvious that they (the government) wanted to help somebody," he added.

The government opted for the ordinance route after a bill for the same could not be passed by parliament in its monsoon session.

The ordinance would save the elected leaders from disqualification but would take away their perks.

Aiming to change the law, the government brought the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session, but it could not be passed.

The ordinance, once approved by the president, will have to be passed by parliament during the winter session likely November-December.

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