Plea Seeking Qualification & Age Limit For Candidates In Election: Delhi HC Isssues Notice [Read Petition]
The petition challenges the vires of sections 8 and 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as these restrict the disqualification period to six years only and allow a convicted person to contest parliamentary and state Assembly elections and are, thus, inconsistent with Article 14 of the Constitution.
The Delhi High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a plea seeking implementation of electoral reforms.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal has directed the Centre to file its reply within four weeks.
The petition, filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, challenged the vires of sections 8 and 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as these restrict the disqualification period to six years only and allow a convicted person to contest parliamentary and state Assembly elections and are, thus, inconsistent with Article 14 of the Constitution.
According to the petitioner, provisions in part-II, chapter-III of the Act, namely “Disqualification for membership of Parliament and State Legislature”, by which convicted people are allowed to be members of legislatures and restricting the disqualification period up to six years only, are discriminatory and inconsistent with the provisions of the Article 13 and 14 of the Constitution.
Discrimination in applying the disqualification rule to the executive, judiciary and legislature is violative of fundamental right and unconstitutional, hence this writ petition, totally bona fide and purely in larger public interest and for strengthening the Indian democracy, it stated.
The petitioner has raised the following questions in the petition:
- Can we achieve the golden goals as set out in Preamble of the Constitution by allowing corrupt, criminals, casteist, communal and separatists to form own political party, become party office bearer and contest the Parliament/State Assembly election?
- Why should not there be a lifetime ban on convicted person on contesting the election, forming a political party and becoming office bearer of any political party? Why merely six-year ban on convicted person on contesting the Parliament/Assembly election only?
- Why should not minimum educational qualification and maximum age limit be mandatory criteria on contesting the Parliament and Assembly election?
- Whether section 8 and section 9 of part-II, chapter-III (Disqualification for membership of Parliament and State Legislature) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, is consistent with Article 13 and 14 of the Constitution?
- Whether part-II, chapter-I (Qualification for membership of Parliament) and part-II, chapter-II (Qualification for membership of State Legislature) of the Representation of the People Act 1951, should be amended to ensure minimum education qualification and maximum age limit for contesting elections?
The petitioner also sought a direction mandating the Centre to implement the Important Electoral Reforms proposed by the Election Commission of India and Law Commission Report No-244 and Report No-255, which is necessary for de-criminalisation and de-communalisation of politics.
The Bench posted the case for further hearing on December 14.
Read the petition here.