New Delhi: The Election Commission will initiate steps to fill up the seats of convicted and disqualified lawmakers, including Lalu Prasad, only after they are declared vacant.
Lalu, who is Lok Sabha MP from Saran in Bihar, another member of the lower house Jagdish Sharma and Rajya Sabha member Rasheed Masood stand disqualified after their conviction in corruption cases in view of the Supreme Court order quashing a provision in the Representation of the People Act that provided immunity to lawmakers.
"Regarding those MPs, the vacancy consequent to court action has to be notified by the Speaker of the House concerned. After that only further action by the Commission will arise," Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told reporters when asked about the fate of their seats.
Election Commissioner H S Brahma also said the Commission will initiate further action only after Parliament informs the Commission about the vacancy.
Till now, the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats of both Lalu and Masood are yet to be notified as vacant by the respective houses. RJD leader Lalu has been convicted and sentenced to five years in jail in the fodder scam and Congress MP Masood to four years in jail in a medical seats scam.
The names of Lalu and Masood continue to be on the websites of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively till date.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has written to the Law Ministry seeking to know the procedure to be adopted for disqualifying the convicted lawmakers and the date from which they will be disqualified in view of the Supreme Court judgement.
Though Attorney General G E Vahanvati has said that the lawmakers stand convicted from the day of their conviction by a court, he is not reported to have given any procedure to be followed for their disqualification.
Sources say as per existing rules, the Commission will not hold bye-election to fill up a Lok Sabha seat in case the general elections to the House is due within a year.
Masood is Rajya Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh.