Prez has doubts on Ordinance that protect convicted lawmakers

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New Delhi: In a move that is likely to embarrass the Manmohan Singh government, President Pranab Mukherjee has summoned Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Law Minister Kapil Sibal for consultations on the issue of the controversial ordinance on negating the Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers.  
The call to the two ministers came after a BJP delegation led by L K Advani met the President and asked him to reject the ordinance or refer it back to the government for reconsideration as it is unconstitutional.
If the President sends back the ordinance, the move will be a major embarrassment for the UPA government. If it is sent back, the UPA government has two options: quietly withdraw it or send it back to the President. If it is sent back, the President will have no option but to ink it.
The President could also sit over the ordinance by sending  the ordinance for legal scrutiny.
The BJP contended that the President was not duty bound to give assent to the ordinance that seeks to negate a Supreme Court verdict that struck down the provision in the Representation of the People Act deferring disqualification of convicted lawmakers.
The two ministers will give the President a briefing on the need for bringing the ordinance, official sources said. There has been an all-round attack on the issue of the ordinance cleared by the Cabinet on Tuesday with the civil society and others criticising the government for trying to protect convicted lawmakers.
The ordinance has been sent to the President for assent. The measure is aimed at giving a breather to MPs and MLAs who face immediate disqualification on their conviction in a criminal case with a jail term of two years or more.
The move was initiated in the wake of a two-month-old Supreme Court verdict which ruled that an MP, an MLA or an MLC would stand disqualified immediately if convicted by a court for crimes with punishment of two years or more.
The government had moved the apex court for a review earlier this month which was rejected. calls ministers for consultation on ordinance issue

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