SC agrees to hear plea challenging convicts contesting electionstext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition seeking a lifetime ban on convicted people from contesting in elections to becoming Parliament members as well as state Assemblies, IANS reported.
The petition was submitted before the bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana by senior advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.
The petitioner contended that even a constable could lose his job after conviction.
Another counsel added that a convicted lawmaker could come back after the six-year ban and make laws.
Upadhyay's PIL pointed out that, while judges and officials were suspended for such activities, politicians were condoned by the law.
In December 2020, the Centre filed an affidavit opposing the PIL seeking a lifetime ban on politicians convicted of serious offences. It had been said that disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of a prison sentence and six years thereafter was enough for legislators.
The Centre said, unlike government servants, "there are no specific service conditions laid down in respect of elected representatives, even though they are categorised as public servants. Elected representatives are bound by the oath they have taken, to serve the citizens of their constituency in particular and the country in general".
However, in 2017 the EC, in its short affidavit submitted to the top court, submitted that plea made by Upadhyay is "not adversarial" in seeking directives for ensuring that trials of MPs and MLAs are concluded within a year and that such convicts are prohibited for life from the political process.
The EC had agreed in the apex court that a ban would be in the spirit of fundamental rights of the Constitution, including the right to equality.