SC's no to plea against barring convicted lawmakers for 6 yrs

The Representation of the People Act lays down that a politician convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more shall be disqualified from contesting polls for six years.

Published: 03rd July 2017 07:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 03rd July 2017 07:40 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court | File

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea seeking judicial scrutiny of an electoral provision which disqualifies a convicted lawmaker from contesting polls for a period of six years from the date of his release after serving jail term.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, said it was the legislature which had stipulated the period of disqualification for convicted lawmakers and the issue does not fall under the domain of the judiciary.

"Once disqualification has been attracted following the conviction, can disqualification be for a limited period of six years," asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for petitioner Vijay Malik.

"The wisdom of electorate is important," the bench said, adding that at best, it can be asked whether there should be a provision to make people aware that a candidate has been convicted and sentenced in the past.

The Representation of the People Act (RPA) lays down that a politician convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more shall be disqualified from contesting polls for six years from the date of his release from prison after conclusion of the term.

The plea, which sought judicial scrutiny of the RPA provision, was later withdrawn by the petitioner as the court was not inclined to hear it.

The court, however, permitted the petitioner to file an application to intervene in an already pending plea, filed by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, on similar issues.

Upadhyay, in his PIL, has sought directions to the Centre and others including the poll panel to debar convicts from contesting polls for life and stopping them from entering the judiciary and the executive.

The apex court had earlier asked the Centre and the poll panel to file their responses to the petition, which also seeks a direction to them to fix minimum educational qualification and a maximum age limit for persons contesting elections.

Upadhyay had also submitted that decriminalisation of the polity was impossible without debarring convicted persons from electoral politics for life, as done in the case of convicted persons being barred from the executive and judiciary.

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