Hearing on petition seeking lifetime ban on convicted legislators in SC to continue

ANI | Updated: Dec 13, 2017 07:45 IST

New Delhi [India], Dec 13 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday will continue hearing on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a lifetime ban on convicted and charge-sheeted MPs and MLAs from contesting elections.

The PIL, filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwani Upadhyay, has also sought a direction from the Centre and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to fix a minimum educational qualification and a maximum age limit for persons contesting elections.

Earlier on July 12, the poll commission took a U-turn on the plea and said it did not want a permanent ban, but it supported the de-criminalisation of politics within a certain framework.

The ECI, in its short affidavit submitted before the court, said the plea made by Upadhyay was "not adversarial" in seeking directives for ensuring the trials of MPs and MLAs were concluded within a year and that such convicts were prohibited for life from the political process.

"The answering respondent (EC) supports the cause espoused by the petitioner," stated the affidavit, filed by EC Director Vijay Kumar Pandey.

Under the current law, a legislator is debarred for six years from contesting elections once he is convicted for heinous or moral offences.

Various pleas have knocked the doors of the apex court arguing that the ban should be lifetime at par with the judiciary and executive where a person cannot hold office for life post conviction.

The Centre has, however, opposed the lifetime ban on convicted MPs and MLAs and vehemently opposed the suggestion of the EC to bar the legislators, who have been convicted of criminal offences.

Submitting its response to the PIL, the Centre has argued that the current debarment for six years is in no way violative of Article 14. (ANI)