This is a blog for entries on politics, economics, current affairs, religion, history, philosophy and travel. I mostly muse on events concerning India.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Why I support the bill/ordinance to undo SC judgment on disqualifying convicted legislators
a Libertarian is hard! I find myself isolated in supporting both the
bill and the ordinance to undo the SC judgement on disqualifying
1. Parliament should not give in to
populism and unseat a convicted legislator without giving him/her a
chance of one appeal. We can ensure that the appeals in case of
convicted legislators are heard and decided within a month. Automatic
and time bound appeals are common in many countries. The bill's
provision that a convicted legislator cannot vote or draw salary while
appeal is pending, is a reasonable measure.
2. An amendment to
Representation of People's act has been in place since 1989 which was
undone by SC. The SC has every right to interpret the constitution to
say that there can be no discrimination between a sitting legislator and
ordinary citizen. However SC judgement that a convicted legislator
should be unseated before the appeal is decided is a violation of first
principles and a case of legislating
from the bench. Parliament has every right to pass a law to undo the
judgement on disqualification. I don't think even a constitutional
amendment is needed as some people suggest.
3. And just because
its Laloo Yadav, doesn't mean that there is no need to pass an
ordinance to prevent a later constitutional crisis. The crisis being a
disqualified legislator getting acquitted on appeal and by then a new
legislator getting elected and both fighting it out in the court. The
parliament has a right, and in my opinion a duty, to pass a bill undoing
the SC judgement (on disqualification, not contesting).
that parliament is asking citizens their opinion via a standing
committee, why should some legislators be singled out to lose their
seats because of potential erroneous convictions? Scores of other
convicts are continuing to be legislators, one is infact a minister in
Gujarat because of non-retrospective nature of the measures. Bringing
the ordinance was a right thing to do.
4. Anyway in the hurry
to be populist, we seem to be losing an opportunity to clean up
politics. Making appeals automatic and time bound in the case of
convicted legislators will infact lead to them actually serving their
sentence. Current long appeal process, ensures convicted legislators
stay away from jail or worse enables a change in government to sabotage
the case with pliant public prosecutors.