New Delhi, September 25: Protesting the government decision to promulgate an ordinance to negate the Supreme Court verdict that held ultra vires Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, some political parties including the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party have urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to sign it.
The ordinance will protect convicted lawmakers from immediate disqualification provided their appeal is admitted by a higher court within 90 days and both conviction and sentence are stayed.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj tweeted: “We are opposed to it (ordinance). We request the President not to sign it. President is not obliged to sign an Ordinance that is unconstitutional.”
To this, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari counter-tweeted, stating that the constitutionality or otherwise of legal enactments was tested in constitutional courts and not in the BJP’s moat.
“Unsolicited advice is neither appreciated nor taken seriously. These are the first principles of the legal profession. Advice of Leader of Opposition amusing, surprising,” he said.
The CPI(M) Politburo, in a statement, said the matter of disqualification of elected members who were convicted “should have been discussed in Parliament and appropriate steps taken.”
The CPI Central Secretariat said the government should not be in a hurry to issue an ordinance to protect convicted legislators.
Jagdeep S. Chhokar, former dean of the Indian Institute of Management (Ahmedabad), urged Mr. Mukherjee to consider the draft ordinance with extra care before signing it as “one pillar of the state was attempting to undo the expressed will of the other two pillars.”
The Executive riding roughshod over the expressed will of the Judiciary and the Legislature was against all norms of the system of checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution, he said.