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Until such time educated class of people who have no absolute political background are not sent in Government, we should not expect revolution in this.
MPs, MLAs will be disqualified as soon as they are convicted: SC
In a big leap towards cleaning up Indian politics, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that MPs and MLAs will be immediately disqualified if they are convicted in a criminal case by a trial court. The court struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which protects convicted MPs and MLAs from disqualification if they appeal before a higher court within three months, on the ground of pendency of appeal.
The court, however, said its order will not apply to sitting MPs and MLAs who have filed appeals against their convictions in higher courts. But those convicted after this verdict will not be saved by this provision, said the court, adding that Parliament had exceeded its powers in providing this immunity.
Discarding the Centre’s argument, the bench of Justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya ruled that Parliament lacked legislative competence to enact this provision since it was in direct conflict with Articles 101 and 102, which stipulate the principles for those who want to contest elections as well as those who have been elected.
The court ruled that no relaxation could be given to a sitting MP or a MLA when an ordinary citizen is barred from contesting elections if he stands convicted on the date of polling. “If, because of a disqualification, a person cannot be chosen as a member of parliament or state legislature, for the same disqualification, he cannot continue as a member of parliament or the state legislature,” it said.
The bench also rejected the Centre’s argument that the disqualification of a convicted MP or MLA was only “deferred” and not rendered ineffective. It held that the constitutional provisions “expressly prohibit” parliament from deferring the date from which disqualification will “come into effect” and so Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act is “ultra vires”.
“Once a person, who was a member of either house of parliament or state legislature becomes disqualified by or under any law made by parliament under Articles 102(1)(e) and 191(1)(e) of the constitution, his seat automatically falls vacant and parliament cannot make a provision to defer the date on which the disqualification of a sitting member will have effect,” it said.
The court accepted the argument of senior advocate Fali S Nariman, who was appearing for PIL petitioner Lily Thomas, and another petitioner S N Shukla, that the constitutional provisions provide for immediate disqualification on conviction under different charges including corruption, violence against women and sexual offences, customs violation, illegal use of drugs and inciting communal hatred.
The bench rejected the Centre’s argument that the lawmakers will be left with no remedy in case of “frivolous convictions” that may later be set aside. The bench said appellate courts have the powers to stay the convictions under Section 389(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The lawmakers will not be disqualified in such cases, it said.
Representation of The people act
* SECTION 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act says a sitting MP or MLA “shall not” be disqualified till the appellate court decides on his appeal against the first conviction, filed within three months.
* IN 2005, a 5-judge SC bench upheld Section 8(4) as a reasonable classification that does not violate Article 14 of the Constitution.
* ACCORDING to APDR, an NGO, 162 sitting Lok Sabha members have criminal cases pending against them.
After reading below given news published in today's news papers, I feel, in India, the time is not far from control of corruption.
Former DIG A.K. Jain, wife sentenced to three years on graft charges
Three months after a special Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) court convicted former DIG A.K. Jain in a bribery case, the same court on Thursday convicted him and his wife in a disproportionate assets case. The couple have been sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined Rs. 25,000 each.
They were later granted bail.
Chief public prosecutor Kalpana Chavan said investigations revealed that Mr. Jain had amassed assets up to 350 per cent to his known sources of income. “The court has convicted Jain and his wife Anita in a DA case after we argued that he misused his position as a public servant and amassed ill-gotten money,” she said. The couple have been booked under sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The Sate Home Department had received an anonymous letter in year 1990 against Mr. Jain, in which it was alleged that he had amassed huge property. The government later forwarded that letter to the ACB, which first started a discreet enquiry and later an open enquiry and finally filed a First Information Report (FIR) against him in 2003.
The prosecution argued that Mr. Jain had bought properties in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka in his name as well as in the name of his family members.
Mr. Jain and his CA were sentenced to five years in jail in April this year after they were found guilty of accepting bribe from a junior officer for protecting him in a departmental inquiry.
Double whammy: Netas in jail can’t fight polls, Supreme Court says
The days of politicians fighting elections from jail are over. The Supreme Court has ruled that a person who is in jail or in police custody cannot contest elections to legislative bodies.
The far-reaching order was passed by the apex court along with its landmark verdict that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would be disqualified the day they are convicted. This double whammy against criminals in Indian legislatures is expected to go a long way in cleaning up politics.
An apex court bench of Justices A K Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhayay ruled that only an "elector" can contest the polls and he/she forfeits the right to vote during imprisonment or in police custody. However, the court said that disqualification would not be applicable to a person subjected to preventive detention under any law.
The court based its order on provisions of the Representation of the People Act. Sections 4 and 5 of the Act lay down that in order to be elected to Parliament or state legislatures, one must be an elector. The bench also referred to Section 62(5) of the Act which says that no person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police.
Reading Sections 4, 5 and 62(5) together, the apex court came to the conclusion that a person in jail or police custody cannot contest elections.
Going by the court's reasoning, it appears that this ineligibility will not hold back a politician if he or she is out of jail before the date for filing nomination papers. However, it will still be a drastic change from the current scheme of things where politicians have not only contested but also won elections from behind bars. George Fernandes and A K Roy, for example, won elections while in jail during Emergency in 1977. "Baubalis" and criminals with immense political clout, across party lines, have since regularly contested and won elections while in jail, even on serious charges.
The court passed the order on an appeal filed by the chief election commissioner and others challenging a Patna high court order barring people in police custody from contesting polls.
"We do not find any infirmity in the findings of the high court in the impugned common order that a person who has no right to vote by virtue of the provisions of sub-section (5) of Section 62 of the 1951 Act is not an elector and is therefore not qualified to contest the election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State," the apex court said.
In its landmark judgment on Wednesday, the same bench had struck down a provision in the Representation of the People Act that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts. The bench also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.
Legal experts said the two verdicts would force political parties to make sure that candidates facing criminal charges are not fielded.
The court had in Wednesday's judgement held that Parliament exceeded its powers by enacting the provision (Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act) that gives a convicted lawmaker the power to remain in office on the ground that appeals have been filed and pending.
The sub-section 8(4), which was struck down, said a lawmaker cannot be disqualified for three months from the conviction and if in that period he or she files an appeal against till its disposal by a higher court.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Tuesday came out in the open with its support for criminal politicians, who recently found their wings clipped following a landmark Supreme Courtjudgement barring them from contesting elections.
The SP that has a history of reliance on anti-social elementscontesting polls had earlier welcomed the judgement. However, it made a U-turn on the matter as the ruling party of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday made its intentions clear to mobilise parties for a constitutional amendment to ensure that the apex court ruling banning criminal leaders from electoral politics becomes ineffective.
Speaking against the SC verdict, SP general secretary Ramgopal Yadav, who happens to be the brother of party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, said, "The judgement that came from the Supreme Court is not acceptable totally as there are some decisions which cannot be agreed completely, like if a person is in jail he cannot contest an election."
"People can take advantage of this and they might misuse it. The Samajwadi Party feels Parliament should look into the matter," the SP leader said.
The SP has articulated other parties' sentiments too - right from national parties like the Congress and the BJP to regional outfits like the BSP, Trinamool Congress and the JD-U - as they all feel threatened by the Supreme Court order.
Politicians claim that the SC judgement has several grey areas and is open to misuse by rivals' conspiracies. They also argue that the SC order is unfair to under-trial prisoners who would lose their seats even if they were acquitted later.
The political class looks all set to challenge the SC ruling that puts them at par with voters and it might cite the feared misuse in their bid to derail a landmark ruling barring criminals from electoral politics.
NEW DELHI: Money and muscle power not only help to win elections but also help in making politics a rather profitable affair. An analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) for the last decade shows that 62,847 candidates had average assets of Rs 1.37 crore. But candidates who won elections had average assets of Rs 3.83 crore.
What's more interesting is that the wealth of legislators who faced criminal cases rose even more - to Rs 4.30 crore - and MPs and MLAs facing serious pending charges like murder, kidnapping and rape were on top of the heap with average assets of Rs 4.38 crore.
Not only do candidates who combine the cocktail of politics, criminality and crores have a higher chance of re-contesting, they also have a better record in winning elections than candidates with a clean record, says the study. The study by ADR - a think-tank working on electoral reforms - is based on self-sworn affidavits filed by candidates before the Election Commission of India.
Of the 62,847 parliamentary and assembly candidates since 2004, 11,063 or 18% have declared criminal cases against themselves. Of these, 8% or 5,253 have declared 'serious' criminal cases. Speaking on the study, ADR's Professor Trilochan Shastry said, "Criminalization is a fact which can't be denied. Money plays a big role in elections and criminalization makes it worse."
ADR also exposed the doublespeak of political parties. The analysis of criminal records of 4,181 repeat candidates shows that 1,072 of them had a criminal case the first time they contested an election and 788 had cases the second time also. This indicates that political parties gave tickets to 74% of candidates with criminal records the second time despite being aware of their dubious background.
For such candidates, re-contesting an election often resulted in an increase in wealth. Of the 4,181 candidates who contested more than one election, 3,173 showed an increase in wealth. While the average assets of re-contesting candidates went up to Rs 2.34 crore, the average assets of the 4,181 candidates with criminal record grew from Rs 1.74 crore to Rs 4.08 crore.
The assets of all re-contesting candidates have grown - to Rs 2.85 crore on average. This translates to 134% growth in declared wealth in less than five years. About 1,615 of the 4,181 candidates showed an increase of over 200%, 684 showed an increase of over 500%, while the assets of 317 candidates increased by over 1000%.
In a break-up of political parties, 75% of Shiv Sena MPs and MLAs since 2004 have declared criminal cases against them, followed by the Rashtriya Janata Dal with 46% such candidates and Janata Dal (United) with 44%. The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress were at 31% and 22%, respectively.
However, in terms of average assets, the highest have been reported by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidates at Rs 6.02 crore, followed by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) at Rs 5.61 crore.