Petitions seeking to debar candidates against whom criminal charges are framed from elections will soon be decided, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.
“We must clarify this matter so that people know the law by next election,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar said when a senior lawyer mentioned the matter before it. These petitions have been referred to a constitution bench which the CJI will set-up soon.
Advocate Vikas Singh submitted before the court that the contentious issue needed to be decided soon as many “dreaded criminals” were planning to stand in the upcoming assembly polls.
“We cannot give an immediate answer to these questions since there is a fear of lodging false cases in elections,” the bench said, asserting a detailed discussion was required on it.
On March 8 last year a bench of three-judges had referred these cases to a larger bench. The top court has already ruled that an elected representative loses his or her seat if he or she is convicted and punished with three years or above of jail term.
The guilty cannot contest elections for six years after the punishment is over.
However, the petitions pending want disqualification at the stage when charges are framed.