Jaitley says Sibal even planned a constitution amendment

The government was contemplating a constitution amendment.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:October 4, 2013 2:54 am

Rejecting the Congress’s allegations of BJP initially being in favour of the legislation to shield convicted legislators from automatic disqualification,Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Thursday claimed Law Minister Kapil Sibal had,in fact,originally planned to bring a constitution amendment to nullify the Supreme Court judgment to which he had objected.

“I was told by the Law Minister at the conclusion of the PM’s speech at the Red Fort on Independence Day,that the government was contemplating a constitution amendment. This was conveyed to me in the presence of the Finance Minister. I expressed my apprehensions at the proposal,” Jaitley said in a statement,adding that it was after his apprehensions that Sibal indicated he “would now start examining if amendment to the law was possible rather than a constitution amendment”.

His claims hold significance in wake of the fact that the government at an all-party meeting on August 13 had only discussed “various proposals” over the issue of a convicted legislator’s right to continue after SC verdict against it. “At the end of the discussion the impression conveyed to us was that the government would finalise the proposal and refer the matter to a standing committee,” Jaitley said,rejecting the “campaign of disinformation launched by a beleaguered government” against the BJP that it supported the Bill.

He said it was a few days after August 15 that the government indicated the opposition about bringing a legislation to which the BJP voiced objection.

“After a few days (after August 15) the government conveyed to us that they were contemplating an amendment in section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act. I had examined this matter and consulted various informed persons… My own understanding upon reading of section 8(4) which was being proposed was that such a provision would suffer from the vice of the unconstitutionality which the original section 8(4) suffers. I had conveyed this myself to the Law Minister,” Jaitley claimed.

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