The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday took just two hours to reverse the SC judgement which had banned those in lawful custody from contesting elections, by passing an amendment in the election law.
The Representation of the People Bill, now needs to be passed by the Lok Sabha to restore the old system which had been scrapped by the July 10 court verdict.
Speaking on the bill, law minister Kapil Sibal said the verdict was erroneous since only those who have been convicted by a court can be disqualified from contesting elections.
“There is a general negative perception in the country that all politicians are criminals. Courts should be extremely careful while delivering judgments which have an impact on the polity of the country,” Sibal said.
The court had upheld the Patna HC verdict which had declared that a person has no right to vote “if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation, except if he is in preventive detention.”
SC had based its verdict on the provision mentioned in section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act. To remove any doubt, the Rajya Sabha amendment adds an explanation.
“Provided further that by reason of the prohibition to vote under this sub-section, a person whose name has been entered in the electoral roll shall not cease to be an voter,” states the new bill.
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said the verdict empowered a policeman to decide the fate of those seeking to contest elections.
Two TDP Mps suspended from Rajya Sabha
Two Telugu Desam Party members from Andhra Pradesh, CM Ramesh and YR Chowdhary, were suspended from Rajya Sabha on Tuesday for disrupting the House on the Telangana issue. Deputy chairman PJ Kurien suspended the two under Rule 255.
Members from BJP, AIADMK, CPI, CPI-M and Trinamool Congress protested against the enforcement of the rule.