Congress reacts cautiously to SC verdict on lawmakers

Congress reacted cautiously to the Supreme Court verdict on disqualification of lawmakers.

New Delhi: Congress on Thursday reacted cautiously to the Supreme Court verdict on disqualification of lawmakers, saying it welcomed the judgement prima facie but issues raised by political parties on the matter would also have to be examined.

"We welcome the verdict as we want to decriminalise the system and cleanse the society... We have been aspiring for this, like we brought in the RTI (Act) to ensure greater transparency. But we have to consider the issues being raised by other parties," senior Congress leader Renuka Chowdhury told reporters here.

Asked whether the Congress would seek a review of the judgement, she said, "At this point, there is no such thought. It is premature."

To another question whether an all-party meeting would be convened to discuss it, she said Congress leadership would consider it and take a decision. "Let us first understand and absorb the judgement."

In a landmark judgement that could lead to decriminalisation of politics, Supreme Court yesterday 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.

On whether Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav had raised the matter during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, Chowdhury said the issues raised by him in this context were "also true. Laws and misused of course and people in politics face the flak too. So we will have to find out what are the checks".

Asked whether the SP chief warned of withdrawing support opposing the Food Security Ordinance, the Congress leader countered "Why do you think everything he says is a threat? He has expressed his views and we have heard him.

"Everyone has his or her opinion. If we can make the bill stronger (by considering other`s opinions), why not?"

Yadav, whose party is extending outside support to UPA, met the Prime Minister for nearly half-an-hour. Last week, Yadav had attacked Congress over the Food Security Ordinance, accusing it of indulging in vote bank politics and said its intentions were not good.


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