The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Central Government’s and the Election Commission’s (EC) responses to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the constitutionality of the EC’s power under Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act to remove or reduce the disqualification period of convicted legislators.
The petition was submitted by the NGO Lok Prahari, who questioned the time of disqualification set out in Sections 8 and 9 of the Representation of the People Act.
A bench of CJI UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi issued a notice in the petition and scheduled a hearing for December 5, 2022. The petition questioned the constitutionality of Sections 8(1), (2), and (3), as well as Sections 9 and 11 of the Representation of the People Act.
Sections 8 and 9 provide for the disqualification of MPs/MLAs for convictions in specified offences, as well as for corruption or disloyalty.
According to the plea, restricting the period of disqualification to merely 6 years from the date of conviction or release of a guilty legislator in Section 8, and 5 years in Section 9, violated Indian Constitution sections 14, 102(1), and 191(1). Section 11, which allows the EC to decrease or eliminate the period of disqualification, was also challenged on the grounds that parliament cannot transfer the duty.