NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up Election Commission of India for not taking a stand on a plea which demanded that convicted politicians should be barred for life from contesting elections.
Presently, under the Representation of People Act, a politician is barred from contesting polls for a period of six years after serving the sentence. During the hearing, the counsel appearing for poll panel told the Bench that it had supported the plea for decriminalisation of politics.
This prompted the Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha to ask the commission’s counsel, “We understand that you have sent your recommendations to the union government on electoral reforms, but what is your stand on this specific issue?”
On this, the counsel stated that the particular issue fell under the legislative domain and they were not the competent authority to decide on the matter. This led the Bench to ask: “If a civil servant is convicted, he is debarred from service for life. Why a politician for six year only? Why not life-long ban? The commission is an independent authority. You are silent on this.”