Plea to curb money power in Rajya Sabha poll dismissedMay 9th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by admin
New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a lawsuit seeking curbs on “the increasing use of money bags” to win Rajya Sabha elections and the trend of corporate houses “buying seats” for their candidates in the Upper House. The public interest lawsuit also demanded invalidation of the April 2008 election of independent Rajya Sabha candidate Parimal Nathwani, allegedly related to a close aide of India’s largest business conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited’s chief Mukesh Ambani.
A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice P. Sathasivam refused to entertain the petition saying it is the duty of parliament to enact relevant laws to curtail money power in elections to the Rajya Sabha or other legislative bodies.
“How will you prove that money has changed hands?”, asked the bench while dismissing the petition.
While seeking invalidation of Nathwani’s election as an independent Rajya Sabha candidate from Jharkhand, in particular, the petition had also demanded annulment of elections of other Rajya Sabha members related to various corporate houses.
The petition had been filed by a non-governmental organisation Citizen’s Constitutional Prerogative.
Appearing for the petitioner, counsel T.V. George contended that earlier business houses used to contact individual parliamentarians to get their work done by the government or forcing the government to take favourable policy decisions suitable to particular corporate houses.
But now the new trend was for the business houses to get their candidates elected, often as independent candidates in collusion with some political parties after giving a hefty donation to secure their legislators’ support, the petitioner contended.
Such nominees of the business houses, after election to the Rajya Sabha, invariably also get a berth on various parliamentary standing committees, which examine various legislative or policy proposals of the government.
And utilising their opportunity of participation and deliberation in the parliamentary panels, they often influence the government in taking policy or administrative decisions favourable to their business houses, contended the petitioner.
George pointed out that while parliamentarians are barred from holding any office of profit in government bodies, there is no such restriction on their holding offices in corporate houses.
The advocate wanted the court to ensure that parliamentarians do not hold any office in corporate houses either.