Membership of MPs, MLAs to be disqualified on date of criminal conviction: Supreme Court

In a major ruling the Supreme Court held that charge-sheeted Members of Parliament and MLAs, on conviction for the offences, will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months time for appeal, as was the case before.

The court struck down as ultra vires Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act that allows convicted law makers a three-month period for filing their appeal to the higher court and to get a stay of the conviction and the sentence. However, the court clarified, the ruling will be prospective and those who had already filed appeals in various High Courts or the Supreme Court against their convictions would be exempt from it.

What does “Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act” say?

Section 8 of the RP Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offence: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of 6 years since his release. But Section 8 (4) of the RP Act gives protection to MPs and MLAs as they can continue in office even after conviction if an appeal is filed within 3 months.

Why this ruling?

The order is a result of three PILs filed by Lily Thomas, the organization Lok Prahari and SN Shukla, saying Section 8(4) of RPA was leading to criminalization of politics.

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Categories: Bills and Acts in Current Affairs 2017

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