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SC bars future lawmakers from office if convicted of crime

A Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhaya ruled that lawmakers can be disqualified if they have been convicted of a criminal offence.

The bench struck down as ultra vires section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), which protected MPs, MLAs and other legislators in their posts if they had appealed their criminal convictions in a higher court, reported the Indian Express.

The ruling, which will not apply retrospectively to those who have already filed their criminal appeals, was made in petitions filed by Lily Thomas and the NGO Lok Prahari, which challenged a number of RPA provisions as unconstitutional.

According to disclosures made by candidates to the Election Commission, 1,460 MPs and MLAs have criminal cases pending, of which 688 were serious, reported the Express.

[Download judgment here]

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