New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday refrained from expressing its opinion on the Supreme Court verdict that convicted lawmakers should be disqualified from contesting even if they have appealed against it but underscored the need for expediting electoral reforms on a priority basis.
Asked for its response to the Supreme Court judgement, BJP leaders said they have not studied it and would come out with a structured response later. But the party felt there is a need for bringing transparency and probity in the election process.
"The process of electoral reforms should be expedited in the light of this verdict. Government should do it on a priority basis," BJP Vice President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said one anomaly which has been pointed out in the past is that while a person cannot contest if he or she is convicted, an MP or an MLA can if he has appealed against the judgement against him in a lower court.
"Questions have been raised about this and some people have even said this is discrimination against those who are not MPs and MLAs," Prasad said.
"BJP always welcomes any step aimed at purifying and strengthening the political system," Prasad said.
The Supreme Court struck down as ultra vires a provision of the RPA which protects convicted lawmakers against disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal against their conviction in higher courts.