January 06, 2017

SC: Larger Bench For Banning Tainted Leaders From Assembly Polls

Supreme Court Of India

The forthcoming Assembly polls soon will take place in five states, the Supreme Court said it would "soon constitute" a five-judge bench to decide questions like whether people facing trial in serious crime cases can be allowed to contest and at which stage of trial, a lawmaker would stand disqualified.

A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said that "We must clarify this matter so that people know the law by next election," the bench said while considering the submission that these issues needed to be decided at the earliest as many "dreaded criminals", against whom charges have been framed by courts in serious cases, are planning to contest upcoming Assembly polls.

The bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, said that “We will soon constitute a Constitution bench to decide these issues,”

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, mentioned the PIL on the issue for urgent hearing on grounds including that many people, facing trial in serious cases, may contest and win elections and hence the legal questions needed to be settled. The bench also said that “We cannot give an immediate answer to these questions since there is fear of lodging false cases in elections.”

On March 8, 2016, a three- judge bench had referred various PILs including the one filed by Upadhyay to the CJI asking the questions like can a lawmaker, facing criminal trial, be disqualified at conviction stage or at the framing of charge in a case have to be decided by a larger bench.

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