EC moves to abide by Supreme Court ruling on convicted MPs and MLAs

The Election Commission today asked all states and union territories to monitor cases of conviction of MPs and MLAs and report them to the commission amidst government moves to contest the Supreme Court ruling.

The government is planning to seek review of the SC ruling that provides for disqualification of MPs and MLAs immediately upon their conviction.

The EC has asked the state governments to track and promptly report conviction of MPs and MLAs to the speaker or chairman of the concerned House and to the poll panel.

"If any sitting member of Parliament or state legislature is convicted and/or sentenced to imprisonment/fine after the date of this judgment and if the provisions of sub-sections 1, 2, and 3 of Section 8 (of RPA) are attracted, he/she will be disqualified from membership forthwith and his seat will become vacant. In order to monitor such cases, it is necessary to have a system in place so that cases of conviction ... are immediately communicated to the Speaker/chairman of the House and to the commission," the EC said in a letter sent to chief secretaries of all states and union territories.

The EC also called upon state governments to devise  foolproof mechanism for tracking and promptly reporting cases of conviction of MPs/MLAs/MLCs across courts at all levels.

The EC also suggested prompt reporting of such convictions to Nirvachan Sadan "to ensure that cases (attracting immediate disqualification) do not go unnoticed".

"The statement may be submitted to the EC by the 15th of every month through the chief electoral officer of the state," the EC said. The commission also outlined the model format for filing these monthly reports.

The Supreme Court had, in a landmark ruling last month, held that MPs/legislators charged with criminal cases or convicted for offences will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months' time for appeal.

A bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya had struck down as unconstitutional Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act that allowed convicted lawmakers a three-month period for filing appeal to the higher court and to get a stay on the conviction and sentence.

The bench, however, made it clear that the ruling would be prospective and those who had already filed appeals in various high courts or the Supreme Court against their convictions would be spared.