A day after Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as Lok Sabha MP following his conviction in a 2019 defamation case, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court against the "automatic disqualification" of elected representatives on conviction.
The plea states "factors such as nature, gravity, role, moral turpitude and the role of the accused, ought to be examined while considering disqualification under Chapter III of the 1951 Act."
Petition filed by Kerala-based activist
Aabha Muralidharan, a Kerala-based activist, has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which provides for automatic disqualification of a legislator from the Parliament or State assembly upon conviction in a criminal case, reports from Bar and Bench stated.
According to Muralidharan, Section 8(3) is ultra vires of the Constitution as it curtails free speech of an elected Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and restrains lawmakers from freely discharging their duties cast upon them by the voters of their respective constituency.
The petition said that Section 8(3) is in contradiction to sub-section (1) of the Section 8, Section 8A, 9, 9A, 10 and 10A and 11 of the 1951 Act.
In the petition, Murulidharan stated that factors such as nature, gravity, role, moral turpitude and the role of the accused, needed to be examined while considering disqualification under Chapter III of the 1951 Act.
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