Centre To SC: Recommend To Parliament To Bar Criminals From Contesting Elections

| August 10 , 2018 , 11:22 IST

The Centre has suggested to the Supreme Court to recommend to the Parliament to form legislation to stop criminalisation of politics by barring persons facing criminal charges from entering the legislatures.

The petitioner NGO Public Interest Foundation has contended that a politician against whom charges have been framed by trial courts for heinous offences should be disqualified from electoral politics.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal on Thursday suggested to the constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra to fix a time-limit for three stages after the filing of the charge-sheet: framing of charges, application for discharge and appeal before the High court for quashing the charges.

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Other judges on the bench are Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra.

The suggestion from the AG came in response to an observation by Chief Justice Misra that it is the demand of the society that Parliament amend the law to check criminalisation of politics. Justice Chandrachud questioned how a politician charged with murder could uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

Justice Nariman said, "There is a Lakshmanrekha here. We only declare law, legislature makes law."

Chief Justice Misra added, "We don't want to legislate on the subject, we want Parliament to do it."

CJI Misra further said, "It is a serious issue. We have to remind Parliament that it has constitutional obligation to amend Article 102 (e). We say this as conscience keeper of the Constitution."

The Article 102 of the Constitution Of India 1949 specifies the criterion for disqualification of membership for either House of Parliament.

Currently, at least 34% of the lawmakers in Parliament and the State legislatures are said to be facing criminal charges.