SC, Parliament on collision track over lawmakers with criminal background

New Delhi, Sept 7 (ANI): Even as Parliament passed a bill late on Friday that maintains the right of lawmakers in jail to contest polls, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to enforce its order for the immediate disqualification of sitting MPs, MLAs and MLCs who have been convicted for an offence attracting a sentence of two years or more.

While the government and Parliament maintain that the apex court's ruling is wrong and that Parliament has right and duty to resort to constitutional remedies to correct such anomalies, the Supreme Court has reiterated that sitting Members of Parliament and state legislators are no longer protected by Clause 4 of Section 8 of the Representation of People's Act.

On Friday, the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, was rushed through in the Lok Sabha and passed within 15 minutes after a brief discussion.

Some members wanted an elaborate debate on the Bill, but the overwhelming majority of the House, including Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, pushed for its passage even without discussion.

The Bill negates the Supreme Court's July 10 order, which held that those in jail cannot vote as per the RP Act, and hence, do not qualify for contesting general or state assembly elections.

The Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on 27th August.

Union Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said, ""The Supreme Court is right because it is final, it is not right because it is right." There is a general negative perception in the country that all politicians are criminals...Courts are enthusiastic to prove us so, even if we are not so. Courts have to be extremely careful while delivering judgements which have an impact on the polity of the country."

"I have greatest respect for the judiciary and that is why we never make adverse comments against any judge or court," he said in response to BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad's remarks.

The Law Minister said the verdict of a court to bar persons in jail from contesting elections was "clearly erroneous" as the matters or right to vote and right to be on electoral roll were being dealt by separate sections in the Constitution and till proven guilty, every one was to be taken as innocent.

"We are fallible, we commit mistakes and the judges can also commit mistakes...the judiciary should be extremely careful while giving judgements which can affect the polity of the country," he said.

Noting that the "delicate balance" between the various institutions of the Constitution has been disturbed, Sibal said there was an environment of "mistrust" in which the political class was dubbed as criminal.

Talking about the apprehensions caused by the apex court verdict, he said, "If an SHO decides to detain you on the eve of elections, then you cannot file nominations."

The Amendment Bill seeks to add a proviso to sub-section (2) of section 62 of the RP Act to state that a person cannot cease to be a voter while in detention as his or her right is only temporarily suspended.

One of the amendments states that as the name of the jailed person continues to be on the electoral rolls, he or she also continues to be an elector and can file nomination for an election.

"Provided further that by reason of the prohibition to vote under this sub-section, a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an elector," the proviso reads.

The amendment shall come into effect from July 10, 2013, the day the Supreme Court gave the judgement.

After examining the Supreme Court order, the government had filed a review petition, but instead of waiting for the outcome, it felt the need to "suitably" address the situation, the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill states.

The apex court had on Wednesday agreed to review the judgement.

In its verdict, the apex court had ruled that only an "elector" can contest the polls and he or she ceases the right to cast a vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police.

The court had, however, made it clear that disqualification would not be applicable to persons subjected to preventive detention under any law. (ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

On Now: Chennai vs Punjab

McCullum's lightning fifty propels Chennai after Dhoni elects to bat at Abu Dhabi. More »

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Evenly matched Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

Trott to take 'immediate break' from cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »