New Delhi, July 10 (ANI): Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja on Wednesday termed the ruling of the Supreme Court that struck down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts to be a landmark judgement, and said that it is going to have very serious and far-reaching implications on the entire polity of the nation.
"All the political parties will have to study this judgement, will have to examine the details of this judgement and will have to understand in proper perspective of this judgement. Even Election Commission will have to study this judgement because this judgement strikes down some of the provision of RPI Act as ultra vires," Raja told the media here.
"So, there are some issues. RPI Act is an act of Parliament. So, the Parliament will have to take a view on the judgement," he added.
In a landmark verdict delivered today, the apex court ruled that MPs or MLAs shall stand disqualified from holding the membership of the house from the date of conviction.
"The only question is about the vires of section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) and we hold that it is ultra vires and that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction," said an apex court bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and S.J. Mukhopadhaya.
The apex court, however, said that its decision will not apply to MPs, MLAs or other lawmakers who have been convicted and have filed their appeals in the higher courts before the pronouncement of this verdict.
The Election Commission, in its reports from time to time, has been seeking amendment of the law for removal of the incumbent advantage to elected MPs and MLAs convicted of various offences.
According to the provision of Representation of the People Act, a lawmaker cannot be disqualified in the event of his conviction in a criminal case if he or she files an appeal in the higher court.
According to a study done by the National Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), as many as 31 percent MPs, legislators (MLAs/MLCs) have criminal cases pending against them in police record.
According to a report out of the 4,835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1,448 are facing criminal cases.
Out of 543 Lok Sabha MPs, 162 have criminal cases pending against them with 75 facing serious criminal charges.
Out of these 1448 members who have declared criminal cases, 641 have declared serious criminal cases like rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion etc. Six MPs/MLAs/MLCs have declared rape charges in their affidavits. (ANI)