Govt. to seek review of Supreme Court order

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thshkNew Delhi, August 2;Seeking to negate the two Supreme Court verdicts on lawmakers, one of which disqualifies MPs and MLAs from the House immediately upon their conviction, government may approach the apex court for a review and also go for a “legislative remedy” by amending the current laws.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday said the government will discuss and decide in the coming days on the two verdicts. “We could go back to the Supreme Court saying you ignored certain aspects,” he told reporters.

In reply to a question, Mr. Sibal said the government could also seek a “legislative remedy” by approaching Parliament. It means bringing an amendment bill in Parliament.

“Talks with various political parties are on…whatever decision is taken will be based on consensus,” Mr. Sibal said. He said while government respects the SC orders, “it is possible that the decisions have political repercussions on the political system and that it has not been fully examined.”

Sources said the government feels that the Supreme Court bench that pronounced the judgement did not take into account the fact that the issue of constitutionality of sub-section (4) of Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act had already been settled by a five-judge bench in 2005. This matter should have been decided by a constitution bench of the court.

In its July 10 judgement, the apex court 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 apex court also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction.

The court said Parliament has exceeded its powers by enacting the provision (Section 8(4) of the Representation of Peoples Act) that gives a convicted lawmaker the power to remain in office on the ground that appeals have been filed and pending.

In another order it said that a person, who is in jail or in police custody, cannot contest election to legislative bodies. The apex court ruled that only an “elector” can contest the polls and he/she ceases the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police.

The court, however, made it clear that disqualification would not be applicable to person subjected to preventive detention under any law.

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