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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Govt disagrees; jurists seek clarity

Nagendar Sharma , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 12, 2013
First Published: 00:23 IST(12/7/2013) | Last Updated: 00:26 IST(12/7/2013)

The government does not agree with the Tuesday’s judgement of the Supreme Court on immediate disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs, and its next step will be based on the views of different political parties.

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The possibility of seeking a review of the verdict and even asking the Supreme Court to set up a special constitution bench to decide on the matter cannot be ruled out, government sources indicated.

The reference to powers of Parliament in the judgment is the point on which the government is likely to seek clarity from the top court. “According to the constitution, the powers to make laws have been vested in Parliament, and courts can interpret them. Now a question has been raised on the powers, let it be decided,” said a government source.

Though the judgment has been welcomed by the Election Commission and civil society activists, legal experts are of the view that some more clarity may be needed.

Former chief justice of India VN Khare said he in-principle supported the judgment, but the SC may have to clear doubts. “It is a good step towards decriminalization of politics, but in my view the seat of the MP/MLA disqualified for being convicted should be kept vacant for a year.”

Justice Khare said this was important since a piquant situation may arise in case the conviction is overturned by a higher court and the MP/MLA is acquitted. "Therefore this judgment needs to be clarified to make it workable," he said.

Former Supreme Court judge, Justice AK Ganguly said the judgment was based on a novel idea but left some key questions unanswered.

"Criminal law has provisions for suspension of conviction and sentence. So how can you disqualify anyone without taking a relook at this provision ?”

Justice Ganguly said the judgment might have to be finetuned to make it consistent with existing laws.


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