Safeguards in proposal barring those charged in heinous crimes
New Delhi: Seeking to prevent its misuse for political motives, government is contemplating putting in place safeguards in a proposal which bars persons from contesting polls if charges have been framed against them for heinous crimes carrying a sentence of at least seven years.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, UPA is pushing for electoral reforms, including an amendment to the Representation of the People Act which bars those against whom charges have been framed by a court for heinous crimes like rape, kidnapping and murder from contesting elections.
The proposed safeguard will ensure that the new provision of barring persons will apply only in cases where charges have been framed for the alleged crime at least 12 months before the announcement of elections.
But there is a view that that the period should be six months and not one year.
The safeguard will prevent misuse of the provision by political rivals and will help government bring political parties on board so that the amendment sails through. Government has little time as the Winter Session beginning from December 5 and ending on December 20 will have 12 sittings.
Political parties may not support the amendment without adequate safeguards fearing that the provision could be misused by governments to fix political opponents.
According to Law Minister Kapil Sibal, the proposal goes beyond the Supreme Court`s judgement of July 10 barring jailed people from contesting polls and providing for immediate disqualification of a convicted lawmaker.
"I am going 10 steps further than the kind of debate that has been going on," Sibal had told.
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