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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Convicted lawmakers to keep seat, lose vote?

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 21, 2013
First Published: 01:24 IST(21/8/2013) | Last Updated: 12:11 IST(21/8/2013)

The government is to make changes to a law that will help lawmakers work around the Supreme Court order that calls for immediate disqualification of convicted MPs/MLAs.

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The changes proposed to the Representation of the People’s (RP) Act will allow convicted lawmakers to keep their seats in Parliament or assembly till their appeals are finally decided, but without the right to vote, salary and allowances.

Simply put, convicted MPs or MLAs will participate in the proceedings but will have no role in decision-making — their primary job — as they won’t have a right to vote. 

The cabinet is likely to take up on Thursday the law ministry’s proposal to amend the RP act to partially reverse the July 10 Supreme Court judgment that ordered immediate disqualification of MPs/MLAs on being convicted of any offence attracting a sentence of two years or more.

The judgment evoked sharp reactions from all major political parties which at meeting last week unanimously decided to bring a bill to “uphold the supremacy of Parliament”.

Wary of an adverse public reaction, the government has tried to strike a balance between demands of various parties and the Supreme Court verdict.

The court had struck down a clause in the RP act that provided protection to MPs/MLAs from disqualification in case of conviction.

 It said in case an appeal was filed within three months of conviction, the verdict on the final appeal would decide the lawmaker’s fate.

The government plans to bring back this provision but in an amended form. “Disqualification under this section shall not apply in case of an MP/MLA, if an appeal or application for revision is filed against the conviction and sentence within 90 days and both are stayed by the court.”


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