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No relief for convicted lawmakers as RS fails to pass RP Bill

Lawmakers convicted in criminal cases with imprisonment of 2 years or more face prospect of immediate disqualification as Parliament failed to pass law to negate Supreme Court verdict in this regard.

New Delhi: Lawmakers convicted in criminal cases with imprisonment of two years or more now face the prospect of immediate disqualification as Parliament failed to pass a law to negate a Supreme Court verdict in this regard.
The Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 is pending in the Rajya Sabha where government, despite efforts, could not bring it up for consideration.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj today said since there were divergent views on the bill, BJP insisted that it be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law.

The Bill, which adds a proviso to sub section (4) of section 8 of the RP Act, states that a convicted MP or MLA won`t be disqualified if an appeal is filed within 90 days and the court stays the conviction and the sentence.

But it makes it clear "that the MP/MLA shall neither be entitled to vote nor draw salary and allowances".

In its July 10 verdict, the Supreme 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.

The apex court also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.

Government`s review plea in the case has been rejected by the apex court.

However, another amendment to the Representation of the People Act which seeks to maintain the right of those in jail to contest polls was cleared by Parliament yesterday as there was unanimity among parties.

The Bill negates another SC order of July 10 which held that those in jail cannot vote as per RP Act and hence cannot qualify for contesting elections to Parliament or state legislatures.


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