Centre opposes in SC PIL seeking lifetime ban on convicted politicians

Centre opposes in SC PIL seeking lifetime ban on convicted politicians

New Delhi: The Centre has opposed in the Supreme Court the amended PIL seeking imposition of lifetime ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections, saying the elected representatives are equally bound by law. BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, in his amended PIL, has sought lifetime ban on convicted persons including politicians, from contesting elections as against the six-year ban from the date of release after serving the jail terms of two years or more as provided under Representation of Peoples Act (RPA).

The Law Ministry, in its affidavit, said: It is submitted that the application for amendment is devoid of merits and does not justify the challenge to the vires of the statutory provisions under the RPA, 1951."

The affidavit, filed through the ministry's official S Mahesh Babu said the amended application does not indicate existence of any conclusive and factual material to substantiate the contention that the provisions challenged are unconstitutional and ultra vires.

"The elected representatives are ordinarily bound by oath that they have taken to serve the citizens of their constituency in particular and country in general. Their conduct is bound by propriety and good conscience. Elected representatives are not above the law and are equally bound by provisions of various statutes in force. Thus no distinction between public servants and elected representatives," it said.

The Centre has also referred to the fact that the apex court, in its judgement in the case of Public Interest Foundation vs Union of India, had already dealt with this aspect and moreover, the legislature had clearly enumerated the grounds for disqualification of an elected representative.

Earlier, a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana had sought response of the Centre on the amended plea of Upadhyay.

Direct the Respondent-1 (Centre) to take appropriate steps to setup Special Courts to decide the cases related to people representative and public servants within one year and implement the important electoral reforms, proposed by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, Law Commission of India in its 244th and 255th Report and Election Commission, said one of the amended prayers.

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