Lifetime ban on convicted MPs, MLAs; Supreme Court agrees to listen to Ashwini Upadhyay`s plea

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The Supreme Court has said that it'll consider a plea seeking to debar convicted members of parliament and state assemblies from contesting elections for keeps. An apex court bench, comprising jurist of India NV Ramana, Justices Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli, made this observation while hearing a plea by Senior advocate Vikas Singh, who appeared for petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay. told the highest court bench that a constable won't get his job back if he's convicted of an offence, but a political candidate can even become the house minister six years after conviction. 

Senior advocate on Wednesday sought a direction from the highest court that convicted parliamentarians and legislators, former and sitting, should be disqualified and banned for all times from contesting elections to Parliament or assemblies. As of now, convicted politicians are banned from contesting polls for 6 years. The PIL also detected, that while judges and bureaucrats were suspended for such activities, politicians were condoned by the law.

In an affidavit filed in 2020, the Centre had rejected the concept of a lifetime ban on convicted persons contesting elections or forming or becoming an office-bearer of a organisation, stating that disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the amount of six years was enough for legislators.

Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria filed the report within the apex court and informed that a complete of 4,984 criminal cases against former and sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of legislature (MLAs) are pending before various sessions and magistrate courts across the country. He also drew the the eye of the court that a rise of 862 such cases has been witnessed within the last three years.

"Despite a series of directions by this court and continuous monitoring, as many as 4,984 cases are pending out of which 1,899 cases are over five years old. it's going to be noted that the overall number of cases pending as of December 2018 was 4,110 and as of October 2020 was 4,859. Even after disposal of two,775 cases after December 4, 2018, the cases against MPs/MLAs have increased from 4,122 to 4,984," stated the report submitted by adviser Hansaria, assisting the court within the case, per ANI report.

The report, furnished during a petition filed by Upadhyay, sought a life ban on convicted politicians from contesting polls and speedy disposal of cases against them. It further added that out of the 4,984 cases, 3,322 are magisterial cases, while 1,651 are session cases. 

According to the report, 1,899 of such pending cases are over five years old while 1,475 such cases are pending for a period between two and five years, adding that more and more persons with criminal antecedents are occupying seats in Parliament and also the state assemblies and it's of utmost necessity that urgent and stringent steps are taken for expeditious disposal of pending criminal cases.