Millennium Post

After Rasheed Masood, Lalu and JD(U) leader disqualified from Lok Sabha

65-year-old Prasad, who was elected from Saran in Bihar, stands disqualified for a total of 11 years - five years of jail term and six years subsequent to his release, according to a notification issued by Lok Sabha Secretary General S Bal Shekar.

Prasad, former Bihar Chief Minister and Union Railways Minister, was sentenced by a Jharkhand court earlier this month to five years in prison with a fine of Rs 25 lakh.

Sharma (63), who represented Bihar's Jahanabad constituency in the Lok Sabha, stands disqualified for 10 years - four years in jail and six more years after that as per electoral laws, according to a separate notification issued by Shekar.

He too was sentenced to four years imprisonment in the fodder scam case.

The Election Commission has also been intimated about the disqualification and the subsequent creation of vacancies in the Lok Sabha.

The disqualification of Prasad and Sharma is the second case of MPs losing their membership since the Supreme Court struck down on July 10 a provision that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.

Theirs is the first case of Lok Sabha members being disqualified.

The first disqualification from Parliament came yesterday when 66-year-old Masood, a Congress member of the Rajya Sabha, was held guilty in a case of corruption and other offences in September. .

The Rajya Sabha notification said Masood stands disqualified as an MP from September 19, the day he was convicted by the CBI court.

Citing provisions of the Representation of the People Act, it said he will remain disqualified for the period of his sentence and will continue to remain disqualified for a further period of six years after his release.

Masood's conviction was the first after the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the electoral law that provided immunity to MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification.

In its July 10 judgement, Supreme Court had struck down sub-section 4 of Section 8 of Representation of the People Act, under which incumbent MPs, MLAs and MLCs can avoid disqualification till pendency of the appeal against conviction in a higher court.

The appeal has to be made within three months of the conviction.

Seeking to negate the SC verdict, government had introduced a Bill in Parliament in the Monsoon session. But following differences with the opposition, the bill could not be passed.

An ordinance on the lines of the bill was later cleared by the Union Cabinet on September 24 to protect convicted lawmakers.

But the decision was reversed by the Cabinet on October 2 after public outburst against it by Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi.

Gandhi had trashed the Ordinance as 'nonsense' and said it should be 'torn' and 'thrown out'.

President Pranab Mukherjee had also questioned the government's decision on the ordinance.

Clearing the air about the procedure to be followed following conviction of an MP, Attorney General G E Vahanvati has recently told the Lok Sabha Secretariat that notification declaring the seats vacant should be issued immediately.
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