Madras High Court has issued notice to the Law Ministry and Election Commission of India on a PIL seeking to declare as unconstitutional certain provisions in the Representation of Peoples Act, enabling convicted candidates to contest elections after a period of six years.
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh issued notice recently on a PIL from one Parthasarathy, a voter of Chepauk constituency here, seeking to declare as unconstitutional, provisions in Sections 8 and 9 of RPA, by which those convicted are allowed to be members of legislatures, restricting the disqualification period upto six years.
The petitioner alleged that there is discrimination in applying this rule to the Executive and Judiciary.
In the judiciary, when one is arrested or convicted for any criminal offence, he or she is suspended automatically and their services are terminated.
But this rule is applied differently in convicted perons. Even after conviction and undergoing sentence, they can contest and become member of legislatures after expiry of six years period from the date of their conviction, he said.
The petitioner submitted that RPA, being burdened with the important task of law making, has not provided for any proper guidelines in the form of minimum educational qualifications, good character and conduct.
Parthasarathy sought a direction to declare the provisions restricting the disqualification period upto six years as violative of principles in Articles 13 and 14 of the Constitution.
The bench then issued notice to the Law Ministry and EC, directed them to file their counters and posted the matter for further hearing to July 26.