Plea in SC challenging 'automatic disqualification' of convicted MPs, MLAs
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the "automatic disqualification" of legislators upon conviction and sentence, hours after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was suspended from the Lok Sabha on Friday, reported India Today. Gandhi was sentenced to two years in jail on Thursday, following which he faced disqualification under Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
What does the petition say?
The plea, filed by a social worker named Aabha Muralidharan, states that factors such as the nature and gravity of the offense and moral turpitude and the role of the accused needed to be examined while considering disqualification, per reports. "Section 8(3) is promoting a platform for false political agendas to be pursued by different political parties in the name of disqualification," it said.
Rule directly attacking democratic structure, says plea
Reportedly, the plea added that Section 8(3) is "directly attacking the democratic structure of the people's representative in pursuance of political interest," which might also lead to unrest in the country's electoral system. It prayed that automatic disqualification under this section should be declared as ultra vires of the Indian Constitution for being arbitrary, illegal, and violative of the fundamental right to equality.
What is the case against Gandhi?
During an election campaign in 2019, Gandhi said, "Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi... How come all the thieves have Modi as a common surname?" Following his comments, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Purnesh Modi filed a suit against him for defaming the whole Modi community. On Thursday, a court in Surat sentenced Gandhi to a two-year prison term and granted him one-month bail.