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India Political Parties Gang Up, Oppose Apex Court Order On Tainted Politicians

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Political parties gang up, oppose apex court order on tainted politicians

TNN - Aug 2, 2013, 02.11 AM IST

Political parties banded together to strongly oppose the recent Supreme Court order that legislators be immediately disqualified on conviction and called on the government to take measures to undo the ruling.

The all-party meeting ahead of the monsoon session on Thursday saw political parties in one voice protesting the "erosion" of Parliament's supremacy in law-making with leaders claiming the SC order is an assault on their rights.

The outrage stems from the view that disqualification on conviction for an offense attracting a sentence of two years or more - instead of allowing an MP or MLA to remain a legislator until his appeal is disposed - may prove arbitrary.

Political leaders expressed the fear that while a legislator loses his membership, he will have no redress in case he is finally acquitted if the process of appeal out lasts the duration of his term as an MP or MLA.

Although concerns of the political class do not strike much of a chord with public opinion that sees the ruling as a stern measure against criminalization of politics, legislators are clearly agitated over the prospect of being suddenly unseated.

The second part of the SC order stating that a candidate arrested ahead of an election won't be able to contest sparked even greater concern. Parties ranging from the BJP, the Congress and the Left argued that this opens the door to motivated action by political rivals.

Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav wondered what functions Parliament will discharge if crucial law making is appropriated by the courts. RJD chief Lalu Prasad said it will be simple matter for a government to cook up a case and arrest leaders ahead of an election.

BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad said while the party supports initiatives to decriminalize politics, the implication of the SC order presented problems as the ruling may deprive legislators of the due process of law.

The government did not clearly spell out what its response to the order will be, apart from assuring that it will consider an antidote in keeping with the sentiments expressed by political parties.

Another judicial verdict opposed by political parties was SC's ruling that there can be no reservation in appointments to faculty posts in "speciality and super speciality" courses in medical colleges, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The court said it could not rewrite the 1992 order by a nine-judge bench in the Indra Sawhney case, also known as the Mandal case, that there could be no compromise on merit at the "super speciality" stage.

However, the BSP, the RJD and the SP vehemently argued that the bar set by the SC be done away with at the earliest and said the apex court had applied the parameters relating to AIIMS in a sweeping manner.

BJP leader Arun Jaitley said the government has only two options in responding to the quota bar. It could choose to amend the law but that will require a constitutional amendment. The other option will be to seek a judicial review.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said BJP intends to bring up the squabbling between CBI and IB, India's top investigative agencies, over the Ishrat Jahan case.

Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath said while government will formulate its response to the SC orders, it is looking to prioritize the approval of five ordinances, including the ones on food security and granting of enhanced powers to market watchdog SEBI.

He listed bills that include legislation to provide enhanced compensation for land acquisition and the proposed India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement.

source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-tainted-politicians/articleshow/21541188.cms



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