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The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition seeking a direction to fix minimum qualifications for becoming an MP or MLA, saying it was for Parliament to decide.
"You are seeking an order that there should be qualifications for MPs and MLAs. That is for Parliament to decide. We cannot decide it," a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said.
The apex court was hearing a petition seeking its direction for "prescribing desirable qualifications for MPs and MLAs" so only properly qualified people became lawmakers.
Besides this, the petition also referred to a provision of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which deals with corrupt practices, and sought a direction that the candidates and others associated with them, like their agents, also be prosecuted under the electoral law.
The bench observed that a candidate can be held liable for the offence of corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act whereas others, like their agents, can be prosecuted under the IPC.
"A person who contests election can be held liable for offence of corrupt practices under the Representation of the People Act. Others will be charged under the IPC and not the Representation of the People Act," the bench clarified.
"You want the Supreme Court to define the meaning of section 123 of the Representation of the People Act dealing with corrupt practices? It is defined for the past over 50 years," the court told petitioner K C Agrawal.