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Ban convicted politicians from contesting elections for life: EC tells SC

RK Nagar

New Delhi:  Convicted politicians should be banned from contesting elections for the rest of their life, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court on Wednesday, months after a bench of the top court ticked off the election body for going back on its earlier stand.

A life ban on conviction could seal chances of politicians such as Lalu Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar contesting an election or AIADMK’s VK Sasikala making her debut in electoral politics.

The existing law disqualifies politicians sentenced to a jail term of two years or more from contesting elections for six years from the date of release from prison.

The election commission had earlier this year supported a lifetime ban on convicted politicians contesting elections but appeared to take an ambivalent stand during court proceedings in July. That pull back had provoked the court to remind the election commission that this was within the domain of the poll body.

“If you don’t want to be independent, constrained by the legislature, say so,” the bench had remarked, wondering if silence was an option. “Either you can say yes or no. Can you afford to be silent?,” the bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Navin Sinha had said.

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