In a desperate bid to save Congress loyalist Lalu Prasad Yadav and convicted Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood (Congress), the UPA government overruled the Supreme Court judgement and cleared an ordinance, which will give relief to these netas and also allow many other tainted politicians to retain their posts even if they are found guilty in any crime. The Union Cabinet approved the proposal to pave the way for an ordinance.
The Supreme Court judgement on July 10 had sought immediate disqualification of all MLAs, MLCs and MPs convicted of a criminal offence punishable with two years or more in jail. Many politicians, cutting across the party line, had ganged up against the verdict. The government tried to bring an amendment to the Representation of the People Act in the Monsoon Session of the Parliament, but failed, as the BJP stalled its move.
Rashid Masood was convicted in an old medical seat allotment scandal on September 19 and was in danger of losing his Rajya Sabha seat after the sentencing on October 1. Similarly, the verdict in Fodder Scam is be out on September 30. Lalu’s political future was in jeopardy, thanks to the apex court verdict. However, the government bailed them out and saved all other tainted politicians. Under the Ordinance, the convicted netas won’t lose their posts, but they won’t get the voting right in the House and cannot draw salary, pending appeal in a higher court.
Meanwhile, the BJP, BJD, Left and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have opposed the ordinance and wondered why there was a hurry to take the ordinance route. BJP leader Sushma Swaraj has requested the President not to sign the ordinance.