The government appears to have slowed down on the proposal to disqualify candidates with criminal charges, such as rape and murder, framed by courts from contesting Parliament and assembly elections.
Even after consulting with the state governments, NGOs and the election commission more than 16 months ago, the law ministry’s draft to amend the six-decade-old People’s Representation Act is gathering dust.
The ministry covered all the offences that carried a jail term of more than five years and also sought to debar those facing corruption charges. But this provision was not to apply in cases where “charges were framed in less than a year from the date of filing nominations for elections”.
Asked whether the proposal, first mooted by the EC, directly contradicted the recommendations by the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice, saying that it could lead to candidates from opposition parties being framed in false cases, a ministry official said enough safeguards had been put in place.
The draft bill allows those who feel that charges have been wrongly framed to move the high court concerned, “which will refer the matter to a special tribunal for disposal within 15 days”.