IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Centre tells Supreme Court that convicted legislators cannot be barred for life from contesting polls

4th December, 2020 Polity

Context: The Central government has told the Supreme Court that it rejected the idea of barring convicted legislators for life from contesting elections, forming or becoming an office-bearer of a political party.

  • The Union Ministry of Law and Justice said an elected representative of the people cannot be equated with public servants who are banned for a lifetime on conviction.
  • The government said disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of the prison sentence and six years thereafter was enough for legislators.
  • The Centre’s stand differs from that taken by the Election Commission, which endorsed a life ban as necessary to “champion the cause of decriminalisation of politics”.
  • A public servant or a government employee is debarred for life on conviction for offences under the Indian Penal Code, money laundering law, foreign exchange violation, UAPA or cheque cases, among other laws, a legislator is “only disqualified for the same offences for a specified period”.