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Ordinance on convicted lawmakers: President not obliged to sign it, says Sushma Swaraj

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 22:57

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday that the President was not obliged to sign an ordinance that was unconstitutional. The Cabinet today passed an ordinance to pave the way for convicted lawmakers to contest elections.

Swaraj tweeted – "Union Cabinet has approved Ordinance on convicted MPs. We are opposed to this. We request the President not to sign this Ordinance."

The MPs and MLAs who face immediate disqualification on their conviction in a criminal case with a jail term of two years or more may breathe easy with the government today clearing an Ordinance to protect them and undo a two-month-old Supreme Court verdict.

Government decided to bring the Ordinance after failing to get a Bill to this effect passed in Parliament during the recent Monsoon Session.

The ordinance will come into effect from July 10 this year once the President gives his assent.

The Supreme Court had on July 10 ruled that an MP, an MLA or an MLC would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more. Government moved the Supreme Court for a review earlier this month which was rejected.

The Ordinance, which is in lines with the bill, states that a convicted MP or MLA will not 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" by adding a proviso to sub section (4) of section 8 of the RP Act.

If a lawmaker fails to get a stay on the sentence or the conviction within 90 days, he or she will stand disqualified.

Convicted persons cannot contest polls as per the R P Act.

The Cabinet note on the Ordinance said since the bill is pending in Parliament and the Monsoon session was adjourned sine die, the government is taking the ordinance route.

To negate the Supreme Court order, the government moved
to amend the law and brought the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Rajya Sabha during the last session. However, the bill could not be passed.

President Pranab Mukherjee has given his assent to another bill which maintains the right of those in jail to contest polls, thus overruling a Supreme Court order.

The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2013 negates another July 10 order of the apex court which held that those in jail cannot vote according to RP Act and hence cannot qualify for contesting elections to Parliament or state legislatures.

With PTI inputs

First Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 22:57
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