The Central Election Commission, in its attempt to make the country’s politics free of criminals, has taken a major decision to recommend to the Central government to impose life time ban on MPs and MLAs who are proven to be guilty in criminal cases. The EC informed this to the Supreme Court on Wednesday, reports Kannada Prabha.
EC lawyers informed the SC on Wednesday that it has already been recommended the Central Government to amend laws to impose life time ban on MPs and MLAs convicted from contesting elections. Responding to this at the court itself Additional Solicitor General for Central Government Atmarama Nadakarni said the government is already considering the recommendation seriously. It was a surprise move as the Central Government had earlier argued that the proposal stating that it was not possible to implement the recommendation and hence the application should be rejected.
Nadakarni also informed the SC that the EC has not submitted the details of any MLA or MP who has completed the sentence and the six-year ban and returned to the Parliament or legislature. Several legislators had filed applications that the clause that after serving sentence and completing the ban for 6 years, the politicians can contest the elections is beyond the purview of the Constitution. However, during the hearing at the SC, the EC has batted for life time ban.
The SC on Wednesday took EC to task for remaining silent in this regard for long. It questioned the EC if it had come under any pressure not to express its opinion. "Is silence also your choice? A citizen of the country has approached the SC appealing for life time ban on tainted politicians and can the SC say EC has resorted to silence? EC should either say yes or no," the SC lashed.
Meanwhile, the SC has shown interest in setting up a special court to expedite the inquiry into the criminal cases against politicians. The opinion was expressed during the hearing of an application questioning the clause in the People’s Representative Act permitting politicians to contest the election after a 6-year ban after completing the sentence. This was after MLAs and MPs had themselves declared a total of 1,581 criminal cases against them during 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It was instructed that these cases should be disposed within one year. A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoy and Naveen Sinha instructed the Central government to provide information about the number of cases disposed, the number of cases where sentence is pronounced, the number of cases registered after 2014.
Following the statement by the Central government, solicitor said that the government will not hesitate to set up special court to inquire into criminal cases against politicians, the SC expressed its opinion and gave directions and asked if the special courts will be meant to hear only criminal cases against politicians. Responding to this, Solicitor General Atmarama Nadakarni asked if the proposed court should be merged with the existing CBI courts and the bench said don’t merge any court.
The subordinate courts clears around 4,000 cases each in a year. Unless the politicians cases are taken up on special considerations it is not possible to clear all the cases within one year, said the court.