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SC constitution bench reserves verdict on issue of granting immunity to lawmakers for accepting bribes

Bench says it will examine limited question of whether immunity can be granted to MPs and MLAs when there is an element of criminality attached to such actions

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 06.10.23, 06:01 AM
Supreme Court.

Supreme Court. File picture

A seven-judge constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Thursday reserved its judgment on the constitutional validity of a 1998 order granting immunity to MPs and MLAs from criminal prosecution for corruption even if they take bribes for voting or making speeches in the House.

The bench, which included Justices A.S. Bopanna, M.M. Sundresh, P.S. Narasimha, J.B. Pardiwala, Sanjay Kumar and Manoj Misra, had said it would examine the limited question of whether immunity can be granted to lawmakers when there is an element of criminality attached to such actions.

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“We cannot then say that we don't have to go into whether there is immunity or otherwise. We'll have to say if the offence is committed outside, as you (Centre) said, then there's no question of the immunity attaching under (Article) 105. Immunity can never attach where there's an element of criminality,” CJI Chandrachud had said during the two-day hearing that commenced on Wednesday.

The seven-judge bench was dealing with a reference made by a five-judge bench last month over a three-judge bench's recommendation in 2019 to refer the correctness of the 1998 P.V. Narasimha Rao case, also known as the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha case, to a seven-judge bench.

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