Asks Centre to file a copy of reference made to the law panel within two weeks before it

New Delhi : Supreme Court has asked the Centre to apprise it of the points of reference made to Law Commission for suggesting “plausible” changes in legislations to ensure de-criminalisation of politics.

A bench of justices R M Lodha and Shiva Kirti Singh asked the Additional Solicitor General Paras Kuhad, appearing for the Centre, to file a copy of reference made to the law panel within two weeks before it.
“We can shorten the area of debate on electoral reforms. First tell us the the points of reference. We can also seek the opinion of the Law Commission on certain issues,” it said, adding, “There are still four-five months left for the election and we need see as to whether some positive steps can be taken or not.”
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Public Interest Foundation which is seeking a ban on persons, charged with criminal offences, from contesting polls.
Responding to the PIL, the ASG said, “We are committed to de-criminalise the politics, but the government cannot go forward unless there is consensus.”
On being pointed put that Law Commission, the Election Commission and the Parliamentary Standing Committee have dealt with the issue earlier also, the bench said, “The question is
as to whether the Executive has accepted the views.”
It wanted to know as to which extent the executive has accepted the views on electoral reforms of various panels. “The views of the Government may be different from the views of the committees. The Government will have to take a view and then proceed as per rules of Parliament,” it said.
Earlier, the poll panel, in its affidavit, proposed that any person against whom a court has framed charges for offences punishable with a jail term of five years or more should be barred from contesting polls.
The Election Commission has said that after being named in a case, a person ceases to have the integrity which is required for a candidate who is seeking to hold a high public office.
“(After the framing of charges), the integrity and character of the accused is under scrutiny and he ceases to have the requisite excellence and integrity to be considered as a candidate for high public office,” the affidavit said. The poll panel had filed the response in pursuance of an earlier direction.
The EC had earlier said that it was pertinent to note that the framing of charges against an accused is done after the allegations and evidence have undergone judicial scrutiny. Thus, charges are only framed against an accused after judicial notice has been taken of the charges and the court finds that a prima facie case exists, EC had said.

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