Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 3
The Centre has opposed lifetime ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections, even as it said elected representatives were not above the law and were equally bound by statutes in force.
“Their conduct is bound by propriety, good conscience and are expected to generally work in the interest of the nation. They are already bound by the disqualification in terms of the RPA as well as various directions and precedents as laid down by this court from time to time.” The Centre said in an affidavit filed in response to a PIL by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in the Supreme Court.
The Centre’s stand is at variance with that of the Election Commission which had earlier supported the demand to keep convicted politicians out of electoral politics.
According to Section 8(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951,“A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years… shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.”
Upadhyay wanted that the six-year ban under Section 8(3) of the RPA should be replaced with a lifetime ban and such convicted politicians should also be debarred from forming political parties or holding party positions.
However, the Centre said, “There is no apparent discrimination between public servants and elected representatives in so far as any offence committed by either are concerned. Both are held under Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as other laws in force…The elected representatives are ordinarily bound by the oath they take to serve citizens.”
“The elected representatives are ordinarily bound by oath that they have taken to serve the citizens of their constituency in particular and country in general. Their conduct is bound by propriety and good conscience,” it said.