Govt mulling constitutional amendment on disqualification issue

Seeking to negate the Supreme Court judgement on immediate disqualification of convicted lawmakers, government is mulling to amend the Constitution for which it will try to bring political parties on board.

New Delhi: Seeking to negate the Supreme Court judgement on immediate disqualification of convicted lawmakers, government is mulling to amend the Constitution for which it will try to bring political parties on board.
The government could also go for a review in the Supreme Court on the judgement in the next few days, highly placed sources in the Law Ministry said on Friday.

The urgency on part of the government to take a decision comes against the backdrop of the Election Commission implementing the Supreme Court judgement.

The Election Commission has asked all states and Union Territories to implement the apex court verdict on conviction of sitting MPs, MLAs and MLCs and devise a fool-proof mechanism for tracking cases of their conviction at all levels.

Government will move ahead with a Constitutional Amendment bill if it gets the support of the political parties.

While there is a unanimity among political parties against the SC verdict, government would move cautiously before amending the Constitution.

In its July 10 verdict, the apex court had 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.

It had also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.

"We also hold that the provisions of Article 101(3)(a) and 190(3)(a) of the Constitution expressly prohibit Parliament to defer the date from which the disqualification will come into effect in case of a sitting member of Parliament or a State Legislature.

"Parliament, therefore, has exceeded its powers conferred by the Constitution in enacting sub-section (4) of Section 8 of the (RP) Act and accordingly sub-section (4) of Section 8 of the Act is ultra vires to the Constitution," it had said.

The Constitutional amendment bill is likely to deal with this part of the judgement.

"Talks with various political parties are on...Whatever decision is taken will be based on consensus," Law Minister Kapil Sibal had said recently on the issue.
He had made it clear that the government may approach the apex court for a review of its order and also go for a "legislative remedy" by amending the current laws.

PTI