SC to examine plea to bar criminals from voting

September 5th, 2012 - 9:50 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday decided to examine a plea seeking to bar people with criminal background from getting registered as voters and contesting elections to parliament and state assembles.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J. Chelameswar directed the listing of the matter Oct 10.

The petition by advocate Lily Thomas sought the striking down of the Section 8, 9, 11-A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, contending that these allowed convicts to continue as legislators pending their appeals.

The petition said that the act allowed a convict to be a voter, an election candidate and a lawmaker.

Thomas said that the remedy for keeping criminals out of the legislature did not rest with parliament but with the apex court.

The petition said that the mandatory qualification of being “citizen of India” for becoming a member of Lok Sabha and state assemblies should be read as a “voter-citizen” as provided under Article 326 of the constitution.

Thomas cited 15 instances of corrupt and illegal practices which would render a citizen disqualified to be a voter or a member of the legislature under Article 326.

The petition said that the real problem, however, was “centred on the use of unlimited mafia fund in elections - the way bad money drives out good money from the market, mafia politicians chase out genuine folks from the election field”.

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