In its latest judgement on convicted legilsators, the Supreme Court has ruled that any person in the custody of police will be temporarily barred from contesting elections. The court has ruled that a person can't contest elections if he is in judicial or police custody. The ban shall be in place only as long as the person is in jail.
The court has referred to Section 62 of the Representation of Peoples Act, according to which a person in jail has no right to vote. The court has extraploated it say that if a jailed person cannot be a voter, he does not have a right to contest in polls, too.
The court has held Section 8(4) of the Representation of the Peoples Act as ultra vires. The section allows a convicted lawmaker to remain in office till the pendency of appeal. This ruling could force many lawmakers in both Parliament and assemblies to lose their seats.
But lawmakers who had filed appeals against their conviction before the verdict will be unaffected. As many as 31 % MPs, MLAs and MLCs have criminal cases against them in police record, according to a study by the National Election Watch and Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
As per the report, of the 4,835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1,448 face criminal cases. Out of 543 Lok Sabha MPs, 162 have criminal cases against them, with 75 of them facing serious criminal charges. Out of those 1448 members with criminal cases, 641 have declared serious criminal cases of rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion etc. Six MPs/MLAs/MLCs have declared rape charges in their affidavits.
But the politicians, just like the verdict on bringing parties under the RTI, are closing ranks negate the ruling.