Union Cabinet Approved an Ordinance to Shield Convicted MPs and MLAs

Sep 25, 2013 11:50 IST

The Union Cabinet on 24 September 2013 approved an ordinance to protect convicted law makers from facing immediate disqualification.
The ordinance, once promulgated, will allow the convicted MPs or MLAs to continue in office if their appeal is admitted by a higher court within 90 days of conviction by the trial court. However, they will not be allowed to vote or draw salaries till the case is decided.

The Union government decided to bring the Ordinance after failing to get a bill to this effect passed in Parliament during the Monsoon Session 2013.
The ordinance is a reversal of the Supreme Court judgement that had not only disqualified lawmakers convicted of offences with 2 years or more in jail but also also barred from contesting elections.

The Supreme Court had struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which protects convicted legislators from disqualification if they appeal before a higher court within three months.

The Supreme Court on 10 July 2013 had ruled that an MP or an MLA will stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more.

To negate the Supreme Court order, the Union Government moved to amend the law and brought the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session. However, the bill could not be passed.

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