SC to hear PIL seeking life ban on lawmakers after conviction in criminal cases
New Delhi, Aug 10 (PTI)The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to consider the PIL which has sought a lifetime disqualification of an elected representative following conviction in a criminal case.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli took note of the submissions that there was a “glaring disparity” in the law concerning disqualification of lawmakers after their conviction in criminal cases under the Representation of the People Act in comparison with other citizens who are employed in government services.
“There is a glaring disparity. Please appreciate, if a constable loses his job after his conviction (in a criminal case), he cannot get it back. But, a lawmaker can get convicted even for a heinous offence and after six years (of serving the sentence), he can get back and become the lawmaker again,” said senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for PIL petitioner and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay.
“Do not waste your energy. We will hear this later...,” the CJI said.
The bench was hearing a PIL which, besides seeking a life term ban on politicians upon conviction in criminal cases, has sought reliefs like an expeditious trial of accused lawmakers and setting up of special courts for this purpose in the country.
The plea has also challenged the validity of section 8 (1) of the Representation of the People Act as it provides that a lawmaker can get back into the legislature six years after serving the sentence awarded to him in a criminal case.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who is assisting the bench as an amicus curiae, also supported the submission of Singh saying that the main plea needed to be heard as the impugned provision is “manifestly arbitrary”.
The top court has been passing a slew of directions time-to-time on the plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay for ensuring expeditious trial of cases against lawmakers and speedy investigation by the CBI and other agencies.
The bench said it will permit the applications of some high courts seeking the transfer of certain judicial officers.
The apex court had ordered that the trial court judges, hearing the criminal cases against the lawmakers, cannot be transferred without their prior leave.
“We must streamline certain things. Transfer and all that... otherwise they (high courts) will have to come to this court to seek a transfer. Next week sometime we will list the petition. Let us see..,” the bench said. Earlier in April this year, the bench was urged by amicus curiae Hansaria that the PIL needed to be listed for urgent hearing as, despite various directions of the apex court on the expeditious trial of politicians, nearly 2000 cases are pending trial for the last five years. PTI SJK SJK RKS RKS
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