Monday, May 20, 2024

SC to examine provision empowering EC to remove, reduce period of disqualification of lawmakers

Supreme Court

New Delhi, November 4: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a provision of the Representation of the People Act which provides power to the poll panel to “remove” or reduce the period of disqualification of a lawmaker.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission on a PIL filed by NGO Lok Prahari through its general secretary and former IAS officer S N Shukla.
Impugned provision of the act deals with the power of the poll panel on “removal or reduction of period of disqualification”.
“The Election Commission may, for reasons to be recorded, remove any disqualification under this Chapter 1[(except under section 8A)] or reduce the period of any such disqualification,” the provision reads.
Shukla, at the outset, said that the provision needed to be either struck down or read down as it suffered from the vice of “excessive delegation” of power to the poll panel.
Before issuing notice on the PIL, the bench orally observed, “What is so bad about Section 11. Parliament itself felt that power could be delegated to the Election Commission of India.”
The bench has now posted the PIL for hearing on December 5.
Under section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 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”. (PTI)