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Plea seeks removal of convicted MPs,MLAs

SC had struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act,1951,which protects convicted legislators from disqualification if they appeal before a higher court within three months.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi |
December 10, 2013 12:37:38 am

Claiming that the amendment to the Representation of the People Act made by Parliament in September this year was unconstitutional and for the sole benefit of the political parties,a writ petition has been filed before the Delhi High Court to strike down the amendment.

The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance,2013,allows convicted MPs and MLAs to continue in office if their appeal is admitted by a higher court within 90 days and the conviction stayed. It also allows persons in jail to remain electors and cast their votes while in detention.

“The Act has been imposed by the political parties for their vested interests and against the wish and interest of the general public/citizen of India,allowing criminal MLAs and MPs to contest the election as well as to vote in the Houses/Parliament/Assemblies,” M L Sharma,who had filed the plea,told the court of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Manmohan on Monday.

The plea further stated,“A person lost his basic fundamental right except provided under Articles 21 and 22 for speedy hearing and counsel for his choice and information,but he lost his right of freedom and others. Right to vote is a legal right and can not be allowed within the concept of the constitution.”

On July 10,the Supreme Court had ruled that an MP or an MLA would be immediately disqualified if convicted by a court in a criminal offence with a jail sentence of two years or more. The apex court had struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act,1951,which protects convicted legislators from disqualification if they appeal before a higher court within three months.

Sharma had earlier filed a similar plea before the Supreme Court,which had been dismissed in November this year.

The High Court,however,directed Sharma to file a copy of the July 10 Supreme Court judgment which had initially banned jailed persons from contesting.

The High Court will hear the case next week.

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