New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to examine a plea seeking a lifetime ban on people convicted of offences from contesting elections and also becoming members of the Parliament and state Assemblies.
Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing petitioner, advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that even a constable can 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 had filed an affidavit opposing the PIL seeking lifetime ban on politicians convicted of serious offences. It had said that disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of 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 that 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 in 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.