The Supreme Court has finally cracked whip on tainted politicians by striking down the provision in the Representation of the People Act, which protected them against disqualification pending appeal in higher courts. The apex court rules that the convicted lawmakers cannot get any immunity and will have to relinquish the office.
“The only question is about the vires of Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) and we hold that it is ultra vires and that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction,” said a bench of justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhaya.
The verdict won’t apply to MPs, MLAs or other lawmakers who have already been convicted and have filed their appeals in the higher courts. The verdict will apply to all lawmakers who get convicted after today’s verdict.
A petition had said that allowing such lawmakers to stay in office was discriminatory and encouraged criminalization of politics. As per the previous provisions, a person convicted and sentenced to a term of two years, was barred from contesting the polls. However, the convicted lawmakers were allowed to stay on, citing appeals in higher courts.
The BJP has welcomed the verdict. But, the Congress has reacted cautiously, saying it would review the judgement before commenting on this.