Disqualification of MPs
27, Jan 2023
Prelims level : Election & Electoral Reforms Mains level : GS-II Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
Why in News?
- The Kerala High Court recently suspended the conviction and sentence of 10 years of rigorous imprisonment awarded by the Kavarathi Sessions Court to disqualified Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal in a case of attempt to murder Mohammed Salih, son-in-law of former Union Minister P.M. Sayeed, during the 2009 Lok sabha polls.
Constitutional Provisions for Disqualification of MLAs:
- Under the Constitution, a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as and for being a member of the legislative assembly or legislative council of a state:
- If he holds any office of profit under the Union or state government (except that of a minister or any other office exempted by state legislature),
- If he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a court,
- If he is an undischarged insolvent,
- If he is not a citizen of India or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign state or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign state, and
- If he is so disqualified under any law made by Parliament.
Parliamentary Provisions for Disqualification of MLAs:
The Parliament has prescribed a number of additional disqualifications in the Representation of People Act (1951) and the same is followed by Legislative Assembly and Council:
- He must not have been found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections.
- He must not have been convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years.
- But, the detention of a person under a preventive detention law is not a disqualification.
- He must not have failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time.
- He must not have any interest in government contracts, works or services.
- He must not be a director or managing agent nor hold an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25 per cent share.
- He must not have been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the state.
- He must not have been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery.
- He must not have been punished for preaching and practicing social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.
- The governor’s decision is final on the question whether a member has become subject to any of the above disqualifications.
- The governor should obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and act accordingly.
Disqualification on Ground of Defection:
- The Constitution lays down that a person shall be disqualified for being a member of either House of state legislature if he is so disqualified on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
- The question of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule is decided by the Chairman, in the case of legislative council and, Speaker, in the case of legislative assembly.
- In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.