Convicted MPs, MLAs: Cabinet likely to take call on ordinance
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Even as RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav faces the threat of disqualification if proved guilty in the fodder scam case on September 30, and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Rashid Masood already being convicted in a corruption case, the Union Cabinet is likely to take a call on Tuesday whether an ordinance should be issued to negate the July 10 judgment of the Supreme Court, disqualifying convicted MPs and MLAs from the House. The ruling had robbed MLAs and MPs of protection from disqualification granted by the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Sources in the government told The Indian Express that a draft of the proposed ordinance has been prepared by the Law Ministry and could be taken up in Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. An attempt by the UPA government to get a Bill passed in the recent Parliament session was futile with BJP and several other opposition parties insisting it be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.
The ordinance would ensure a convicted MP or MLA won't be automatically disqualified if an appeal is filed within 90 days and the higher court stays the conviction and the sentence.
But any such lawmaker, whose sentence and conviction is stayed, would neither be entitled to vote, nor draw salary or allowance.
In his legal opinion on the matter, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati has told the government that only a Constitutional amendment would undo the effect of the SC judgment.
"Dealing with the legal problem which has been posed (regarding Constitutionality of Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as decided by the SC) I am of the view that if the Parliament is to effectively and comprehensively deal with the issue, it could only be done by a Constitutional amendment, and not by statutory amendments to the RP Act, 1951," Vahanvati said in his opinion.