PIL in Supreme Court Against “Automatic Disqualification” of Convicted MPs, MLAs

New Delhi: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court against the “automatic disqualification” of elected representatives on conviction. This PIL came after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as Lok Sabha MP following his conviction in a 2019 defamation case. The petition was filed late Friday evening and is likely to come up for hearing next week.

The petition has been filed by a Kerala-based activist, Aabha Muralidharan, who has submitted that “section 8(3) is promoting a platform for false political agendas to be pursued by different political parties in the name of disqualification and hence is directly attacking the democratic structure of the people’s representative in pursuance of political interest which can also cause unrest to the electoral system of the country.”

The PIL states “factors such as nature, gravity, role, moral turpitude and the role of the accused, ought to be examined while considering disqualification under Chapter III of the 1951 Act.”

“All that the petitioner and the petition wish to establish is that the right under Article 19 1 (a) enjoyed by the Member of Parliament is an extension of the voice of millions of his supporters. If the offence under Section 499 and 500 of the IPC, which just technically has a maximum punishment of 2 years, is not removed singularly from the sweeping effect of the judgement in Lily Thomas, it will have a chilling effect on the right of representation of the citizens,” it says further.

A Surat court sentenced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to two years in jail on Thursday in connection with a 2019 criminal defamation case filed against him over his “why all thieves have Modi surname” remark. He was disqualified from Lok Sabha membership as according to the Representation of the People Act, a person sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more shall be disqualified ‘from the date of such conviction’ and remain disqualified for another six years after serving time.


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