All-party meeting backs move to overturn verdict on tainted MPs, MLAs

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KAMALNATHNew Delhi, August 13;The government on Tuesday got support from political parties on its plans to amend the Representation of People Act to overturn the Supreme Court ruling, which barred people in police or judicial custody from contesting polls.

At an all-party meeting, the government also receiving backing on its proposal to bring an amendment to the Constitution to negate the impact of the apex court verdict directing immediate disqualification of MPs and MLAs on being sentenced for more than two years in a criminal case.

These were among the four issues that were discussed in the meeting convened by the government to firm up a view on contentious issues.

The proposed Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, which seeks to replace the collegium system, the Supreme Court order on reservation in AIIMS faculty and the Patna High Court order barring a candidate arrested even for a day from contesting were the other issues.

Parties suggested that the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill should be referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee.

The issue of Robert Vadra’s controversial land deals in Haryana was also raised by the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj. The Left parties maintained that the government should not have objections if any issue was raised.

The opposition parties felt that the responsibility for the running the House was primarily that of the government.

Ms. Swaraj asked why the opposition was not being allowed to raise the Vadra issue in Parliament. “Allow us to speak on the issue,” she said.

The Left parties accused the Congress and the BJP of “match-fixing” and disrupting the House proceedings to prevent real issues afflicting the people from being raised.

“We discussed the Supreme Court judgement on AIIMS. We talked about judicial commission and various court pronouncements. There is consensus among all political parties for effective steps to ensure supremacy of Parliament.

“…There is also consensus on the bills on reservation in AIIMS. All parties demanded amendment in the Representation of the People Act. All political parties want judicial commission bill should be introduced in this session,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after the meeting.

Ms. Swaraj said all parties were in agreement on filing a review on the reservation issue.

“Another issue was about the judgement. Suppose you are in police custody even for a day, then you do not have a right to vote nor you can file nomination for election. The government said that they want to amend the Representation of People Act to undo this.

“BJP supported this. Because I said the judiciary of this country allowed Italian marines, who are accused in the murder case of fishermen, to vote in Italy but the same judiciary did not allow a person who is convicted even for a day here. He has no right to vote. This is wrong,” she said.

Ms. Swaraj said that this was the reason the government wants to bring an amendment in this Act and “all parties are for it.”

“Third one is disqualification. That if one gets convicted for two years then he will forego his membership.

The government has put forward four conditions before us. We want it to be referred to the Standing Committee,” she said.

The BJP leader said while her party supports the setting up of Judicial Appointments Commission issue in principle, the government wants the Bill to be passed without sending it to the Standing Committee. “The BJP wants it should go to the Standing Committee.”

She maintained that running the House was the government’s responsibility. “We want to raise certain issues but we are facing hurdles from the ruling party. We want the House to run and the bills should be passed after discussion.”

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