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Posted at: Mar 20, 2017, 7:47 PM; last updated: Mar 20, 2017, 9:25 PM (IST)

EC for debarring convicted politicians from holding party posts

EC for debarring convicted politicians from holding party posts
Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 20

The Election Commission of India has supported the idea of debarring convicted politicians from forming a political outfit and becoming a party office bearer, saying it would help to clean up the political system.

In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Election Commission also favoured setting up special courts to try the cases involving politicians and bureaucrats.

 If the top court accepts these suggestions and issues orders accordingly, convicted politicians such as RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Indian National Lok Dal leader Om Prakash Chautala can no longer hold any position in their respective party.

 The Election Commission said its recommendations for de-criminalisation of politics were pending with the Law Ministry.

It has also suggested a host of other measures, including making paid news an electoral offence, proscribing political advertisements 48 hours before polls and amendment in the election law to check bribing of voters and enforcing the limit of election expense.

These suggestions have been filed by the commission in response to a PIL seeking the courts direction to the government and the commission for electoral reforms to rid the political system of criminal elements.

 The commission, however, said it could not prescribe minimum educational qualifications and a retirement age for a politician, saying it was beyond its purview as it fell in the domain of the legislature.

Petitioner Ashwani Upadhyaya — a BJP leader — wanted the court to issue orders to ban convicted politicians from contesting polls for life, forming a political party and becoming its officer. He has also demanded setting up of special courts to try politicians and bureaucrats facing criminal cases.

 Upadhayaya contended there should be some minimum educational qualification for contesting polls and a retirement age for politicians. He demanded implementation of recommendations of the Law Commission and Justice Venkatachaliah Commission on electoral reforms.

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