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Aug 20, 2013 at 04:02pm IST

Govt to challenge SC order disqualifying convicted MPs, MLAs

New Delhi: The government on Tuesday decided to challenge the Supreme Court judgement on disqualifying convicted MPs and MLAs from contesting elections. The Cabinet will discuss amendments in the Representation of People's Act on Thursday to overturn the ruling so that convicted MPs can participate in House proceedings but cannot vote or get allowances.

At an all-party, which took place a few days before the Monsoon Session of Parliament, leaders had expressed their dissent over the Supreme Court's ruling. Concerns were expressed by parties that the supremacy of Parliament must be maintained and if required amendments must be brought in the constitution, Parliamentary Affairs Kamal Nath had said after the meeting. There is already a consensus to amend the Act.

In a landmark ruling that can cleanse Indian politics of criminal elements, the Supreme Court had struck down the legal provision that protects a lawmaker from disqualification even after conviction in a criminal case. The Supreme Court had ruled that MPs or MLAs shall stand disqualified from holding the membership of the House from the date of conviction in a trial court.

The court held Section 8(4) of the Representation of the Peoples Act as ultra vires. The section allows a convicted lawmaker to remain in office till the pendency of appeal. This ruling could see several lawmakers in both Parliament and state assemblies lose their seats.

As many as 31 per cent Members of Parliament (MPs), legislators (MLAs/MLCs) have criminal cases pending against them in police record, according to study done by the National Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).

According to a report out of the 4,835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1,448 are facing criminal cases.

Out of 543 Lok Sabha MPs, 162 have criminal cases pending against them with 75 facing serious criminal charges. Out of these 1448 members who have declared criminal cases, 641 have declared serious criminal cases like rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion etc. Six MPs/MLAs/MLCs have declared rape charges in their affidavits.