Cabinet clears Ordinance to bypass Supreme Court order against convicted lawmakers

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 24.09.13

New Delhi, Sep 24 (PTI): The Union cabinet on Tuesday cleared an ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers who were facing immediate disqualification under a July 10 Supreme Court judgment.

The government decided to bring the Ordinance after failing to get a Bill to this effect passed in Parliament during the recent monsoon Session, sources said.

A Congress member of Parliament, Rashid Masood, was facing the prospect of disqualification as he was recently convicted in a case of corruption and other offences.

The Supreme Court had ruled that an MP or a member of a legislative assembly would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more.

To negate this order, the government moved to amend the law and brought the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the Rajya Sabha during the last session. However, the Bill could not be passed.

According to the Supreme Court judgment, Masood stood to lose his membership of the Rajya Sabha once a court of the Central Bureau of Investigation announces the amount of the punishment next month.

Earlier in the day, the Congress had rejected criticism of a possible ordinance, pointing out that it would go to Parliament.

“Ordinance is not an undemocratic act by any government. It is not a backdoor method. It has to have the nod of Parliament. It will go before Parliament in the very next session,” party spokesperson P C Chacko had told reporters.

Masood would have been the first MP to lose his seat after the Supreme Court verdict.        The fate of Lalu Prasad, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, whose party is supporting the government from outside, is also to be decided in fodder scam case on September 30.

Chacko said the government favoured a piece of legislation would have got it passed had Parliament been allowed to carry out its business in the monsoon session.