In 2014, when the law commission India convened a meeting of political parties on electoral reforms, major parties including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), BJP and Congress Did not assist. This led the then chairman of the law panel Justice AP Shah venting his frustration saying that the political class did not take the electoral reforms seriously.
Since that day, the panel of laws has suggested a series of reforms and often the Electoral Commission and the Supreme Court, to implement them, but nothing has been done due to “lack of political consensus.” This includes a proposal to disqualify accused politicians from participating in elections.
Renowned lawyer Kapil Sibal, the minister of law during the UPA government prior to 2014, had initiated and drafted enabling legislation to disqualify all politicians, regardless of affiliation, if charges were brought against them in court, particularly in heinous crimes with sentences of seven in prison. years or more.
To remove criminal elements from the legislature, the then UPA government had prepared the bill: Representation of People (RP) (Amendment) Act. Before the change of government in 2014, consultations were held with the Electoral Commission. Consultations with political parties were pending prior to presentation at Parliament. However, in the last seven years of Narendra Modi government, the meetings of all the parties could never be scheduled.
The bill provided for the disqualification of a candidate for up to 13 years from participating in the elections if accused of a heinous crime. At the time, the Modi government was most concerned with the testing of the goods and services tax bill, which was high on the agenda. The PR Act amendment bill also prescribed the disqualification of an elected representative from the membership of Parliament or the state legislature if they were found to have submitted a false affidavit.
As recently as May of this year, the Electoral Commission again reminded the government to assume all pending electoral reforms to achieve greater accountability to candidates participating in the elections. He wanted the government to pass enabling legislation in which a false affidavit submitted by candidates would establish a prison sentence of a minimum of two years and thus be disqualified from participating in elections for the next six years.
The high court is currently exploring whether electoral reform matters will be referred to a larger constitutional court of seven judges, thereby forcing the government to introduce the long-delayed legislative amendments to the PR Law.
The SOUTH CAROLINA As early as 2014, he asked the Legal Commission to give its opinion on whether politicians charged by a court for serious crimes such as rape, murder, etc., should be disqualified from participating in the elections. The panel had strongly endorsed the disqualification, but the SC instead suggested speedy trials of lawmakers facing serious charges.