New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of the Representation of People Act that protects lawmakers convicted of crimes from being disqualified by appealing the verdict in a higher court.
"The only question is about the vires of section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act and we hold that it is ultra vires and that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction," a bench of justices A.K. Patnaik and S.J. Mukhopadhaya said.
The court, however, said its decision would not apply to MPs, MLAs or other lawmakers who have been convicted and have filed their appeals in the higher courts before Wednesday’s verdict.
The provision of the RPA says a lawmaker cannot be disqualified despite a criminal conviction if he or she files an appeal in the higher court.
The apex court's verdict came on petitions filed by Lily Thomas and the NGO Lok Prahari, contending that provisions of the RPA violate certain constitutional provisions that, among other things, expressly bar criminals from being registered as voters or becoming MPs or MLAs.