The Union Cabinet of India on 22 August 2013 approved the amendments to the Representation of the People Act, 1951. This is to negate the recent Supreme Court verdict on disqualification of convicted legislators. The amendmentas were proposed by Ministry of Law and Justice.
A proviso added to sub-section (4) of section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 states that the convicted member shall continue to take part in proceedings of Parliament or Legislature of a state but he or she shall neither be entitled to vote nor draw salary and allowances till the appeal or revision is finally decided by the court.
As per the amendment, a lawmaker would not lose his right to vote if under arrest even for a short duration and thereby would retain his right to contest a poll. A public representative will get 90 days time to seek revision but on condition that a higher court-stay is obtained against the conviction.
The Supreme Court of India in its verdict in July 2013 had struck down a provision in the electoral law that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.
The Supreme Court had ruled that MPs or legislators will stand disqualified from the membership of the house from the date of conviction in a trial court for a period of over two years. It had held Section 8 (4)-which allows a convicted lawmaker to remain in office till the pendency of appeal - of the Representation of the People’s Act as ultra vires.
This ruling could see several lawmakers in both parliament and state assemblies lose their seats. Politicians had feared registration of false cases by their rivals especially on the eve of an election. At an all-party meeting held earlier, the parties had united in expressing their dissent over the Supreme Court's ruling.
Where: New Delhi
When: 22 August 2013