The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce its verdict on Tuesday on a bunch of pleas seeking to disqualify politicians facing criminal trial from contesting elections at the stage of framing of charges. Currently, the lawmakers are barred from contesting elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.
On August 28, a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had reserved its judgment on the matter.
During the hearing, Supreme Court bench had indicated that voters have a right to know the antecedents of candidates and the Election Commission could be asked to direct political parties to ensure that persons, facing criminal charges, do not contest on their tickets using their poll symbols.
The ruling Narendra Modi government had, however, contended that the judiciary should not venture into the legislative arena by creating a pre-condition that could affect the right of a candidate to participate in elections.
Earlier, the apex court had observed that persons facing criminal charges would be free to contest, but they cannot do so on a party ticket under its election symbol.
Appearing for Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal had said that Parliament has made a distinction between an accused and a convict and there has been a provision for disqualification in the Representation of Peoples Act upon conviction of a lawmaker.
The Election Commission of India had said the recommendations for decriminalising politics were made by the poll panel and the Law Commission way back in 1997 and 1998, but no action was taken on them.
(With inputs from PTI)