Political Affairs Current Affairs - 2019

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Parties using children for poll work will lose symbols: Election Commission

The Bombay High Court while hearing a case on the issue of children engaging in election campaigns and poll related work, asked the Election Commission (EC) what action it was taking against political parties to curb the involvement of children.

The Election Commission  has responded that parties which are making children work for their campaigns will face de-recognition by the EC. Under section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, the EC can withdraw the recognition granted to parties that don’t follow the EC’s rules and regulations. De-recognition of a political party means that it can no longer use its reserved symbol.

High Court denies Bail to Jayalalitha, to approach Supreme Court

The High Court of Karnataka has denied bail to Jayalalitha in the disproportionate assets case. The Special Public Prosecutor raised no objection to granting of bail to Jayalalitha. The lawyer for the defense, Ram Jethmalani, argued vehemently for the release of Jayalalitha, calling it a case of political vendetta. He cited the case of Lalu Prasad Yadav being granted bail by the SC (after being convicted in the fodder scam) as a precedent to take into consideration while deciding whether bail must be granted to Jayalalitha.

Jethmalani also prayed for the suspension of the sentence pending appeal.

Rationale behind judgment

Justice Chandrasekhara refused to grant bail saying that there were no grounds for the Court to grant bail. Citing SC judgments, he opined that corruption amounted to violation of basic human rights, and that it led to economic imbalances in society. The judge also said that the SC had made it clear that cases relating to corruption must be fast-tracked.

He also refused to consider the Lalu Yadav case as a precedent, because he had been granted bail by the SC on an appeal from the HC judgment that denied him bail. Also, he had spent 10 months in jail already when the SC granted him bail. Jayalalitha, on the other hand, has not been in jail even for a month.

The judge also refused to suspend the judgment of the Special Court. He cited several cases of the SC under the Prevention of Corruption Act to validate his ruling that the case was not fit for granting either bail or suspension of sentence.

Future course of action

Jayalalitha’s legal team is likely to appeal the judgment denying bail in the SC. It is also expected that she will ask for a suspension of the four year sentence awarded by the Special Court Judge.

Disproportionate Assets Case

Jayalalitha was the first serving CM to be convicted in a corruption case when a Special Court convicted her of holding assets disproportionate to her income. She was sentenced to four years prison and a fine of Rs. 100 crore. Also, she has been disqualified from contesting elections for the next 10 years under the Representation of People’s Act.