Monday, October 19, 2015

EC for 'immediate' bar on convicted lawmakers

New Delhi, Oct. 18: The Election Commission has asked Parliament and legislatures to "immediately" notify disqualification of convicted lawmakers "without any discrimination", saying delays allowed them to continue illegally.
The information about such convictions and the subsequent disqualification orders should not take more than seven days each, said the panel headed by Nasim Zaidi.
In instructions to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha secretariats as well as those of state legislatures, the commission noted that "in some cases, there has been a delay in the issuance of such notification by the secretariat of the House".

The Supreme Court had in July 2013 struck down a section of the Representation of the People Act under which convicted MPs, MLAs and members of state legislative councils could avoid disqualification till their appeals were decided in a higher court, a process that often took years.
The disqualification will be immediate, to be followed by a six-year bar on contesting elections, the apex court had said. The order covers offences where the sentence is two years or more.
In its latest order, the poll panel has stressed on immediate disqualification upon conviction "without any discrimination". It has asked the chief secretaries of states to ensure the House secretariats are immediately informed about such convictions.

In Bengal, a Trinamul legislator, Mohammad Sohrab Ali, has been continuing as an MLA since his conviction in a rail theft case on September 8. Asked today if he had been informed about Ali, Speaker Biman Banerjee said: "No one in the government has officially informed me about Sohrab Ali's conviction, so I have taken no action."

The MLA from Raniganj, where a court sentenced him to two years in the two-decade-old rail scrap theft case, has been out on bail. He has appealed the verdict. He had campaigned for his party in the recent civic elections.
The Congress's Rashid Masood was the first lawmaker to be disqualified under the revised law, stripped of his Rajya Sabha membership after being held guilty in a corruption case in October 2013. Days later, Lalu Prasad and Janata Dal United leader Jagdish Sharma got the stick following their conviction in a fodder scam case.

Last year, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa was stripped of her office and status as MLA after conviction in an assets case. The high court later overturned the order.

1 comment:

Khoty Mathur said...

That sounds like excellent news. Wonder how some political parties will try and work around it. They will definitely try.