President puts a question mark on govt bid to shield convicted MPs
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The fate of the proposed ordinance to bypass the Supreme Court ruling on barring convicted MPs and MLAs looked uncertain on Thursday after President Pranab Mukherjee summoned Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Law Minister Kapil Sibal to seek a "clarification".
Mukherjee is likely to consult legal experts before taking a call.
The surprise move to summon the ministers came amid opposition from the BJP, a section of the Congress and questions being raised on the legality of the move. The Cabinet had cleared the ordinance last Tuesday and sent it for the President's assent.
Mukherjee met the ministers shortly after a high-level BJP delegation comprising L K Advani and Leaders of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley met him and requested that he refer the ordinance — which they said was "unconstitutional" — back to the government for reconsideration.
But Mukherjee seemed to have made up his mind to summon the ministers even before the BJP delegation called on him — it was around 2 pm when the ministers were asked to reach Rashtrapati Bhawan at 7 pm.
Sources said Mukherjee asked the ministers about the "urgency" behind issuing the ordinance, since a Bill in this regard is pending in Parliament. He is also learnt to have asked questions about the Supreme Court judgment of July 10, and wanted to know whether the government could issue an ordinance on a matter that is before a standing committee of Parliament.