Written by Umang Saini
OrdinanceThis week current Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is in USA for bilateral meeting with USA and some United Nations work. He left on September 25th, after his cabinet cleared an Ordinance on "The Representation of the People" overturning a Supreme Court order, allowing convicted members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies to continue holding MP/MLA office for another 90 days, during which if they get a stay order on the conviction, they continue the status-quo. This ordinance is in blatant contradiction to letter and spirit of Constitution of India and demonstrates the competence of current administration.
Indian constitution does not allow any convicted person to hold MP/MLA office, or to contest any general election. They are however allowed to get a stay on the conviction, in which case they are free to exercise their rights to contest. This latest ordinance allows them to file the appeal without resigning from MP/MLA seat. Indian Constitution on the other hand requires them to resign immediately and forfeit the right to contest, unless they succeed in getting a stay order. The ordinance gives them 90 days grace period, during which the convicted person may get a stay on the same. Navjot Singh Sidhu found himself in this situation, when he got convicted on charges of murder in 2006. He had to resign immediately and later won the same seat in by-election in 2007, but only after Supreme Court gave a stay order on his conviction.
BJP did what any decent opposition party should do, slam the ordinance. However after that, things begin to get strange. First, His Excellency Honorable President of India sends the Ordinance back for clarifications. And, while Congress spokespersons were busy defending the ordinance, Rahul Gandhi came to Press Club at Congress' Meet The Press and gave following statement -
"I personally think that whatever the government is doing on this ordinance is wrong. My personal opinion about the ordinance on lawmakers is that it is complete nonsense, it should be torn and thrown away," -- Rahul Gandhi - 28th Sept 2013, Press Club of India, New DelhiThese are some strong words coming from Vice President of Indian National Congress against his own government. This is a measly mockery of an ordinance, which bears no meaningful significance. The immediate fallout of this ordinance will be faced by Laloo P. Yadav who is awaiting the verdict on Fodder Scam by special CBI court on 30th September 2013, a measly 17 years after the scam was uncovered in 1996.
This episode is another example of kind of law-making happening in Delhi -- arbitrary and blatantly stupid.