MPs, MLAs will be disqualified from date of conviction: SC

Jul 10, 2013, 17:06 IST | Agencies

In a landmark judgement that could cleanse Parliament and Assemblies of criminals, the Supreme Court today 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.

"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," a bench of justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya said. 

The court, however, said that its decision will not apply to convicted MPs and MLAs who have filed their appeals in the higher courts before the pronouncement of this verdict.

The verdict seeks to remove the discrimination between an ordinary individual and an elected lawmaker who enjoys protection under the RP Act.

Under Sec 8(3) of the RPA, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified for that and a further six years after release.

The following sub-section 8(4) says a lawmaker cannot be disqualified for three months from the conviction and if in that period he or she files an appeal against till its disposal by a higher court.

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. 

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