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SC Issues Notice on PIL Challenging ECI’s Power to Remove/Reduce Disqualification Period of Legislators

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Tanisha Rana

Published on: November 4, 2022 at 21:50 IST

The Supreme Court requested a response from the Central Government and the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) petition that questioned the legality of the EC’s power to remove or reduce the period of convicted law makers disqualification under Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act. [Lok Prahari vs. Union of India and Anr.].

The time of disqualification stipulated by Sections 8 and 9 of the Representation of the People Act was also challenged in the appeal submitted by NGO Lok Prahari.

On December 5, 2022, a bench consisting of Chief Justice UU Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi gave notice in the case and scheduled it for further deliberation.

Sections 8(1), (2), and (3), Section 9 and Section 11 of the Representation of the People Act were challenged as being unconstitutional in the petition.

MPs and MLAs may be disqualified under Sections 8 and 9 if they have been convicted of certain offences or have acted dishonestly or corruptly in the past.

In the argument, it was claimed that Sections 8 and 9’s limitations on the time of disqualification—6 years for Section 8 and 5 years for Section 9 —violated Articles 14, 102(1), and 191(1) of the Indian Constitution.

On the grounds that Parliament cannot delegate the aforementioned function, Section 11, which gives the EC the authority to reduce or remove the term of disqualification, was also criticised.