Convicted lawmakers issue, legal reforms kept Law min busy
New Delhi: The resignation of Ashwani Kumar as law minister, Rahul Gandhi`s attack on an ordinance aimed at protecting convicted lawmakers and government`s push for judicial and legal reforms were some of the issues that kept the Law Ministry in limelight in 2013.
Despite support from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Kumar was virtually left with no option but to resign in the wake of revelations that he had vetted the CBI`s status report on the coal blocks allocation case before it was submitted to the Supreme Court.
CBI director Ranjit Sinha had filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court in May, confirming that the status report had been "shared" with Kumar and an officer each from the Coal Ministry and Prime Minister`s Office "as desired by them".
After Kumar`s exit on May 10, Kapil Sibal took over. As the new Law Minister was settling to his new assignment, the Supreme Court gave two landmark back-to-back verdicts on electoral reforms on July 10.
While one order said any lawmaker - MP, MLA or MLC - would stand immediately disqualified if convicted by a court and they would not get the three-month period to get relief from the court.
The other judgement held that those in jail cannot vote as per RP Act and hence cannot qualify for contesting elections to Parliament or state legislatures.
The government and the opposition joined hands in negating the second order as Parliament passed a bill to overturn the judgement.
The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013 added a proviso to sub-section (2) of section 62 of the RP Act to state that a person cannot cease to be a voter while in detention as his or her right is only temporarily suspended.
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