SC seeks law panel view on disqualifying poll candidates

New Delhi, Dec 16: The Supreme Court Monday asked the Law Commission to examine whether a candidate should be disqualified from contesting elections only upon conviction as law stands today or should be barred at the stage of the filing of charge sheet or framing of charges.

A bench of Justice R.M.Lodha and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh also asked the Law Commission to examine whether filing of a false affidavit under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act could be a ground for disqualification of a candidate.

The court asked the Law Commission that if its answer to the second question relating to affidavit was in affirmative, then it should spell the mode and mechanism to be followed.

The court asked the panel to submit its report on the two issues by the end of February and told the central government to forward this to the apex court upon the receipt. It directed the listing of the matter in first week of March 2014.

Seeking the law panel’s opinion on two questions before next general election, the court noted that the comprehensive reference made by the central government to the Law Commission may take some time to come, and so the answer to two issues before the election would be helpful.

The commission said this in response to a PIL by NGO Public Interest Foundation seeking framing of guidelines/framework to ensure that those charged with serious criminal offences are unable to enter the political arena by contesting election.

The NGO has also sought court’s direction to set a time frame of six months during which trial of such persons is concluded.

Passing the order, the court noted that in pursuant to the note submitted by the central government Jan 16, the Election Commission has filed an affidavit therein it has recommended that the person charge sheeted or in respect of whom charges have been framed six months prior to the elections should be debarred from entering the electoral fray under Section 125 of the Representation of People Act.

The poll panel, the court noted, sought direction that that those candidates who file a false affidavit should be disqualified as at present, it has to file a criminal case against such people.

IANS