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Sibal proposes bill to keep criminals away from politics

Sibal proposes bill to keep criminals away from politics

New Delhi: Persons charged with heinous crimes will not be able to contest polls, if a proposal of Law Minister Kapil Sibal goes through.

The proposal goes beyond the Supreme Court's judgement of July barring jailed people from contesting polls and providing for immediate disqualification of a convicted lawmaker.

Sibal proposes to bring a bill to bar persons charged with heinous crimes with an aim of keeping criminals away from politics.

He told PTI in an interview that he has already sought the opinion of the Law Commission on this issue.

"I have written to the Law Commission. I have sought their opinion. But personally, I have even done a draft of the bill," he said.

Sibal said he "personally" believes that people who are charged with very serious offences like murder, kidnapping, rape, which carry minimum sentence of seven years, should not be allowed to fight elections.

"Even if they are not convicted, even if they are charged, they should not be allowed to fight elections," he said, adding, "hopefully (we can) take it forward."

Asked whether he has discussed this issue with his Congress party, Sibal replied, "No, this is my view... I will certainly, before the next session, see that I consult with my colleagues and try and bring it to the Cabinet. If I can do it, nothing like it."

He was asked whether if it was on the lines of the Supreme Court judgement of July 10 that barred people in jail from contesting elections and provided for immediate disqualification of convicted lawmakers.

"I am going 10 steps further than the kind of debate that has been going on," Sibal replied.

Interestingly, Parliament, during the Monsoon session, negated the Supreme Court order that barred jailed people from contesting elections.

Government had moved to negate the SC ruling on disqualification of convicted lawmakers also but an Ordinance in this regard was withdrawn along with a bill after Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi attacked the proposal.

He dubbed the Ordinance, which was cleared by the Cabinet, as "complete nonsense" and said it should be "torn up and thrown out".

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