Ordinance okayed by Pranab Mukherjee saves convicted netas


New Delhi: After failing to get the contentious legislation passed in Parliament, the government on Tuesday chose the ordinance route to soften the blow on convicted MPs and MLAs. The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cleared an ordinance protecting convicted legislators from disqualification, by negating the July 10 Supreme Court ruling that barred an MPs or MLAs from holding on to their membership of the House if convicted for an offence carrying a jail term of at least two years.
The ordinance insulates legislators from disqualification if convicted for offences mandating a jail sentence of two years or more in any case and an appeal is admitted in a higher court. But the proposed law makes it clear that till the disposal of the case at the highest level, the legislators will be entitled to draw their salary and perks.
Both the BJP and the Left have objected to the move. The BJP questioned the “undue haste” in bringing the  ordinance, while the CPM said there was no need for an ordinance as an amendment bill was already before Parliament. “We have always favoured the proper route (Parliament) for any legislation,” a Left leader said.
The Congress, however, rejected the criticism and claimed that the measure was “not a backdoor method” as it had to be laid before Parliament eventually. “An ordinance is not an undemocratic act by any government. It isn’t a backdoor method. It has to have the nod of Parliament,” AICC spokesperson P.C. Chacko said.
Incidentally, the move to take the ordinance route comes in the backdrop of Congress MP Rashid Masood facing the prospect of disqualification after being convicted recently in a case of corruption and other offences.
A CBI court is set to pronounce the sentence next month, and after that Masood faces the prospect of losing his membership of the RS under the apex court’s order.
Even in case of RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav, a CBI court in Ranchi is due to pronounce the verdict on September 30 in the infamous fodder scam case. 

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