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Consultation on poll reforms sees differing views on disqualification

PTI | Last Updated: Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 20:46

New Delhi: The national level consultations on decriminalising politics and disqualifying those who file false affidavits today threw up differing opinions on the subjects even as the Law Commission event saw participation of only a few political parties.

Based on today`s deliberations, the Commission will finalise a report on the two issues that it has to submit to the Supreme Court later this month.

In December, the apex court had asked the law panel to submit a report on the two issues whether disqualification should be triggered upon conviction as it exists today or upon framing of charges or filing of charge sheet and whether filing of false affidavit under Section 125 A of Representation of the People Act should be a ground for disqualification.

It wanted to know in case it can be a ground for disqualification, what mode and mechanism should be followed for such disqualification.

The issue of disqualification saw the participants, including politicians, NGOs and other stakeholders giving a spilt verdict. While some supported disqualification upon conviction, others said disqualification
could trigger following framing of charges by a competent court.

But only 12 national and state parties attended the event to express their views on the subject. Addressing the gathering, former Supreme Court judge and former Chairman of Law Commission justice B P Jeevan Reddy said all political parties field candidates with serious criminal cases.
"Significantly, the rate of success of the candidates with serious criminal cases was higher than others. Probably this is the reason why political parties prefer candidates with serious crimes to their credit. Of the winning candidates, during the period 2004 to 2013, 28.4 per cent had 9,993 cases pending against them, out of which 1,287 cases related to murder, rape, corruption, extortion and dacoity," he said.
Commission Chairman Justice (Retd) Ajit Prakash Shah said it is significant to understand how providing false information about the background, history, standing and antecedents of candidates could lead to democracy being filtered by unwarranted elements and consequences.

First Published: Saturday, February 1, 2014 - 20:46
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