Review plea in SC on debarring arrested persons from contesting polls

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New Delhi: Petitions seeking review of two land mark judgements of Supreme Court disqualifying MPs and MLAs on being convicted and debarring arrested persons from contesting polls have been filed in the apex court.
The petition, filed by the President of Haryana Swatantra Party Ramesh Dayal, urged the Supreme Court to review its two verdicts delivered on July 10. The apex court had held that a person, who is in jail or in police custody, cannot contest election to legislative bodies bringing to an end an era of undertrial politicians fighting polls from behind bars. This excludes in preventive detention.
In another pathbreaking verdict, the apex court had also struck down a provision in the Representation of Peoples Act(RPA) that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.
The verdicts have been widely opposed by politicians cutting across party lines and the Centre has also indicated that it may also approach the apex court for a review and also go for a 'legislative remedy' by amending the current laws.
"The impugned judgement, suffers from errors, which are apparent on the face of the record. Section 8(4) of RPA has been declared unconstitutional by this Court without tracing its history and object sought to be achieved in terms of the rationale behind it," the petition said.
"This Court passed erroneous judgement which shall have serious repercussion and consequences over the functioning of Parliament, State Legislature and democracy in the country as a whole.
"There is no doubt that preventing of criminalization of politics is a basic feature of the Constitution but it cannot be extended to the level when democratically constituted Parliament may be weakened even to face its very existence and continuity. With this reason, this matter deserves to be referred to the Constitution Bench/ Larger Bench for proper consideration," the petition said. 
The petitioner also said that debarring arrested persons from contesting elections is against law and the verdict might be used as a weapon by the ruling party against opposition.
"The impugned order itself gives a weapon to the executive and the members of ruling party to bring a new concept of criminalization of politics by misusing their power to frame members of opposition in criminal cases so that they will not be able to contest electiona on account of being in police custody," he said. "Banning the people of criminal background to enter Parliament is in national interest but the apex court has taken an erroneous view ," the petition said.

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