On Tuesday, the Central government submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court, opposing a PIL to bar convicted politicians for life from contesting polls. Pointing out the role of ‘Representation of the People Act’ (RPA), the government said that there are sufficient provisions in the RPA to deal with the disqualification of convicted persons and no further stipulation was called for, reported The Indian Express.
The affidavit put before the bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi read: “The provisions (in the RPA) involved are intra-vires and have in the statute book for quite some time and continue to serve the purpose for which these are enacted i.e. curbing the entry of persons with criminal antecedents into the political arena.” It also said that there is no need for a constitutional court to step in unless there is a legislative vacuum in an area of public interest but as they are already subsisting legal provisions, the issue was “outside the scope of judicial review.”
“A constitutional court could step in only when there was a legislative vacuum in an area of public interest but since there was already subsisting legal provisions, the issue was “outside the scope of judicial court,” The Indian Express reported.
Filed through the Ministry of Law and Justice, the affidavit stated, “The parameters for disqualification of MPs and the state legislators were constitutionally prescribed and hence no further restrictions could be implied for reading into the pertinent provisions.”
According to the RPA, a bar of six years from contesting elections will be put on a convicted politician or a politician sentenced to two years in jail or so. The bar will be active from the date of his release from prison after the conclusion of the term.
Last year, a petition was filed by Ashwini Upadhyay for barring convicted politicians for life. Election Commission (EC) had supported the petitioner saying it “supports the cause espoused by the petitioner.”