SC seeks Centre's reply on plea to stop convicts from contesting polls

24 March 2017, 11:35 PM
Supreme Court of India - file photo
Supreme Court of India - file photo

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Union government on a plea seeking barring convicted persons from contesting polls for life and preventing their entry into judiciary and the executive.

A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha asked the government to file its reply in two weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on April 18.

The counsel appearing for the government said the reply was ready and will be filed in a couple of days.

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The government said similar issues had already been dealt with by the apex court referred to the Constitution bench.

The bench, however, asked the government to file the reply to the plea.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for Delhi BJP Spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Upadhaya, who has filed the petition also seeking setting up special courts for trial of criminal cases against lawmakers, said Election Commission of India (ECI) has filed its reply in which it supported some of prayers in the plea.

The bench said if the petitioner wished to file a rejoinder, he could do so.

Earlier this week the EC had told the apex court that it was in favour of barring convicted persons from contesting polls for life and stopping their entry into judiciary and the executive.

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The EC had also said it was in favour of setting up special courts to decide criminal cases related to people’s representatives, public servants and members of the judiciary in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.

Terming the prayers as not adversarial, the poll panel said it supported the cause espoused by the petitioner.

With regard to direction for setting a minimum qualification and maximum age limit for legislators, the commission said the issue is in the legislative domain and will require amendment to the Constitution.

It also said it has been championing the cause of decriminalisation of politics within the constitutional and statutory framework, wherever possible with the aid of article 324, relating to the functions and powers of the poll body.

The EC has also issued necessary instructions in furtherance of the mandate to conduct free and fair elections and to “decriminalize democracy”, it had said.

First Published: Friday, March 24, 2017 11:16 PM
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