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13 Jul 2017

EC's silence over barring convicted MLAs for life enrages SC

The Election Commission's brooding silence over the issue of barring convicted MLAs, MPs for life, enraged the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

The apex court went on to question EC asking if its view was influenced by the Centre's stand against life ban on convicts.

The SC scheduled further hearing over the matter on July 18.

In context

EC's silence on barring convicted MLAs irks SC

Affidavit by EC

Support decriminalization of politics: EC tells SC

Whilst the Election Commission's stand on the life ban issue remained dubious, it had, in its affidavit to the SC, said that it had submitted a detailed proposal to the government on electoral reforms.

The EC had stated that it supported decriminalization of politics.

It also stated host of other reforms like making bribery cognizable, amendment in election expenditure and prohibition of paid news.

The petition

Petition seeking life ban on convicted MLAs for contesting elections

The petition which led the EC to think over the decriminalization of politics was filed by petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay who had asked the court to uniformly debar convicted MLAs, MPs from the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

Upadhyay had also sought for the setting up of special courts for speedy trial of criminal cases faced by elected representatives.

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Have said nothing on life ban: EC counsel

EC's stand

Have said nothing on life ban: EC counsel

Election Commission's counsel Mohit Ram said that they were supporting the cause of decriminalization of politics but they had reserved their say over the life ban on convicted MLAs contesting for elections.

Moreover, Ram said the EC wasn't the competent authority to comment on the "life ban" issue.

The EC's U-turn over the matter raises question on the independent thinking of the electoral body.

Centre's take

Centre opposed to ban on convicted politicians contesting for polls

Not just now, the Centre had before also opposed to the ban which sought convicted politicians for life from contesting polls.

The government had reasoned out saying that there were already adequate provisions in the Representation of the People Act (RPA) to deal with disqualification of convicted MLAs, MPs and no further action was required.

Feel free to share your view: SC tells EC

SC's views

Feel free to share your view: SC tells EC

EC's reluctance to give a free view over the "life ban" issue made the Supreme Court share its piece of mind.

The SC stated that if the EC's vision or judgement power was being clouded by the views of the Centre then it may admit to the same.

It added that EC was free to express the views it contained over the matter.

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