The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought details of the criminal records of MPs and the status of the cases pending against them in various courts, following a submission that 34 per cent of legislators have criminal antecedents as per the disclosures made in the affidavits at the time of contesting elections.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha asked petitioners Ashiwini Kumar Upadh-yaya and others to furnish the details during the course of hearing of a batch of petitions seeking lifetime ban on convicted persons from contesting the Assembly or parliamentary polls. The petitioners also wanted special courts to be set up in each state to dispose of these cases within one year.
The court is examining whether such a ban would violate Article 14 of the Constitution, when such a disqualification has not been provided either under the Constitution or under the Representation of the People Act.
Senior counsel Krishnan Venugopal said in the Executive and Judiciary, when a person is convicted for any criminal offence, he/she is suspended automatically and debarred from his services for life. However, this rule is applied differently in case of convicted person in a Legislature. He said even after conviction and undergoing sentence, a convicted person could form his own political party and eligible to become the office-bearer of any political party. In addition, a convicted person is eligible to contest the election and eligible to become Member of Legislature.