Supreme Court of India / Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will consider a plea seeking to debar convicted members of parliament and state assemblies from contesting elections for life.
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli said that it will hear the matter.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay, told the bench a constable will not get his job back if he is convicted of an offence, however, a politician can even become the home minister six years after conviction.
The plea sought direction that convicted parliamentarians and legislators, former and sitting, should be disqualified and banned for life from contesting elections to the parliament or assemblies.
As of now, convicted politicians are banned from contesting polls for six years.
The Central government in an affidavit filed in 2020 had rejected the idea of a lifetime ban on convicted persons contesting elections or forming or becoming an office-bearer of a political party.
It had been said that disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of six years was enough for legislators.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria filed the report in the apex court and informed that a total of 4,984 criminal cases against former and sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) are pending before various sessions and magistrate courts across the country, an increase of 862 such cases in the last three years."Despite a series of directions by this court and continuous monitoring, as many as 4,984 cases are pending out of which 1,899 cases are more than five years old. It may be noted that the total number of cases pending as of December 2018 was 4,110 and as of October 2020 was 4,859. Even after disposal of 2,775 cases after December 4, 2018, the cases against MPs/MLAs have increased from 4,122 to 4,984," stated the report submitted by amicus curiae Hansaria, assisting the court in the case.
The report was furnished in a petition filed by Upadhyay seeking a life ban on convicted politicians from contesting polls and speedy disposal of cases against them. The PIL also pointed out, that while judges and bureaucrats were suspended for such activities, politicians were condoned by the law.
The report said out of the 4,984 cases, 3,322 are magisterial cases while 1,651 are session cases. It said 1,899 of such pending cases are more than five years old while 1,475 such cases have been pending for a period between two and five years.
It is said more and more persons with criminal antecedents are occupying seats in Parliament and the state assemblies and it is of utmost necessity that urgent and stringent steps are taken for expeditious disposal of pending criminal cases.
In August 2021 the top court directed that no prosecution against sitting former MPs and MLAs will be withdrawn without the permission of the High Court of the concerned state.
It further directed that judges hearing the criminal cases against MPs and MLAs in Special Courts should continue in their current posts until further orders of the Supreme Court. (ANI)