Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders on Friday requested President Pranab Mukherjee not to sign the ordinance approved by the government meant to protect convicted MPs and MLAs from facing immediate disqualification. “We have requested the President not to sign on the ordinance (on convicted MPs and MLAs) and to send it back,” AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal told media here after meeting President Mukherjee.
The Union Cabinet had approved an ordinance to reverse the Supreme Court judgment mandating the immediate disqualification of lawmakers convicted for a criminal offence punishable with a jail term of more than two years. The ordinance seeks to reverse the Supreme Court judgement that had not only disqualified lawmakers convicted of offences with two years or more in jail, but also barred from contesting elections.
The ordinance will allow convicted legislators to continue in office, if the appeal against the conviction is admitted by a higher court within 90 days.
In a landmark verdict delivered on July 10, the apex court ruled that MPs or MLAs shall stand disqualified from holding the membership of the house from the date of conviction. “The only question is about the vires of section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) and we hold that it is ultra vires and that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction,” said an apex court bench of Justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhaya.
The apex court, however, said that its decision will not apply to MPs, MLAs or other lawmakers who have been convicted and have filed their appeals in the higher courts before the pronouncement of this verdict.
According to the provision of Representation of the People Act, a lawmaker cannot be disqualified in the event of his conviction in a criminal case if he or she files an appeal in the higher court.