The government is likely to today consider an ordinance to protect convicted MPs and MLAs from facing immediate disqualification after having failed to get a Bill to this effect passed in Parliament. With Parliament not being able to pass a law to negate a Supreme Court verdict, lawmakers convicted in criminal cases with imprisonment of two years or more face the prospect of immediate disqualification.
The government had recently introduced the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Rajya Sabha to overturn the Supreme Court judgement that lawmakers convicted of crimes with punishment of two years or more face immediate disqualification. Sources said the conviction of Congress MP Rashid Masood in a case of corruption and other offences has made the government weigh the options on bringing an ordinance in this regard. They claimed that the Union Cabinet in its wisdom may also decide against bringing an ordinance.
Once the quantum of punishment is pronounced by a CBI court next month, Masood faces the prospects of losing his membership of Rajya Sabha as the July 10 order of the apex court is now the law of the land. He could be the first MP to lose his seat after the SC verdict. There is a feeling that till Parliament does not pass The Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill to negate the SC verdict, MPs, MLAs and MLCs would continue to lose membership.
But, at the same time, there is a feeling that the opposition may come down heavily on the government in the Winter Session in case an ordinance is brought as the Bill is pending in Parliament. Technically, the government is free to bring an ordinance. While political parties backed the government on the need for the Bill at a meeting, differences cropped up on certain issues when it was introduced in Rajya Sabha.