New Delhi : A lawyer, who has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking that convicts be restrained from forming and holding posts in political parties during the period of their disqualification, has told the court that the Centre has failed to strengthen the law regarding registration and de-registration of the parties, despite efforts by the Election Commission (EC) and the Law Commission.

The submissions were made in a rejoinder affidavit filed by lawyer and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, in response to the Centre’s affidavit filed on March 21.

                The Centre had, in its affidavit, said the appointment of an office-bearer to a political party was a matter of its autonomy and that it might not be apt to restrain the EC from registering a party only because one of its functionaries was disqualified from contesting elections.

                Upadhyay, in his rejoinder, said corruption had been an area of concern for four decades and the government had failed to act on the proposal put forward by the EC, in its letters to the law minister and the prime minister sent between 1998 and 2016.

                “It is submitted that the government has failed to act on the proposal made in the letter of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), dated July 15, 1998 and addressed to the law minister, about strengthening the existing provisions regarding registration and de-registration of political parties,” he said.

                “Corruption/criminalisation has been an area of concern for the last four decades, leading to India plummeting in the annual international ranking released by Transparency International. Many recommendations have come from various high-powered committees and commissions, constituted to advise the government on the issue of electoral and political parties’ reforms,” the rejoinder said.

                It also referred to the Law Commission’s suggestions — debarring of a candidate from contesting elections if a competent court, in respect to offences punishable by imprisonment of five years or more, has framed charges against him and disqualifying a candidate for filing a false affidavit.

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