UPA’s self exposure campaign: Ordinance negating SC order approved by cabinet

Within few days, president Pranab Mukherjee will put his seal on the ordinance making it a law. It will save likes of Rasheed Masood and Lalu Yadav. Guess it is just a self-exposure by the UPA government.

Not much as a surprise, the cabinet passed the ordinance to protect convicted MPs, MLAs and MLCs from facing immediate disqualification negating the earlier order of Supreme Court.

The Supreme court on 10 July had ruled that an MP or an MLA would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more. To negate the Supreme Court order, the government moved to amend the law and brought the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session.
In his legal opinion on the matter, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati had told the government that only a Constitutional amendment would undo the effect of the SC judgment.

“Dealing with the legal problem which has been posed (regarding Constitutionality of Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as decided by the SC) I am of the view that if the Parliament is to effectively and comprehensively deal with the issue, it could only be done by a Constitutional amendment, and not by statutory amendments to the RP Act, 1951,” Vahanvati said in his opinion.

In order to do away with the matter quickly, the central government has decided to come up with an ordinance. However, it failed to get the bill passed in the parliament this monsoon session.

The draft of the ordinance was created by the law ministry and taken up in today’s cabinet meeting.

The government decision to take the Ordinance route came against the backdrop of a Congress MP Rashid Masood facing the prospect of disqualification as he was recently convicted in a case of corruption and other offences.

The Bill introduced in the parliament, states: “…A disqualification under any of the said sub-sections shall not, in the case of a person who on the date of the conviction is a member of Parliament or the legislature of a state, take effect, if an appeal or application for revision is filed in respect of the conviction and sentence within a period of 90 days from the date of conviction and such conviction or sentence is stayed by the court.”

In the Bill, a proviso has been added to sub-section (4) of section 8 of the Representation of People Act which makes it clear that convicted member shall continue to take part in proceedings of Parliament or Legislature of a State but he or she shall neither be entitled to vote nor draw salary and allowances till the appeal or revision is finally decided by the court.

The ordinance will ensure the same.

According to Article 103, “the question whether a sitting member of the House has become subject to disqualification shall be referred to the President whose decision shall be final. Before giving his decision, the President will obtain the opinion of the Election Commission (EC) and act on that opinion.”

Also, there is no automatic and instant disqualification, according to the bill, “It has to wait for the President’s decision.”

By showing the eagerness to get the ordianance passed, the government has only opened up its fears in front of the public. It may harm Congress political agenda rightnow which circulates much around no criminal background candidates in the election.

Not to forget, in his address to the rally at Jaipur, Rahul Gandhi in his speech had said that the government will not spare any criminals and that they will not let criminals contest election. He had also come up with a five page application form to select the candidate for a constituency which demanded to disclose any criminal case pending on the applicant.

Within few days, president Pranab Mukherjee will put his seal on the ordinance making it a law. It will save likes of Rasheed Masood and Lalu Yadav. Guess it is just a self-exposure by the UPA government.


BJP’s Sushma Swaraj posted her party’s view on the ordinance on twitter. She “requested” the president “not to sign this ordinance”. “The President is not obliged to sign an ordinance that is unconstitutional”, she tweeted. 

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