In the midst of upcoming Assembly polls, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it would soon constitute a five-judge bench to decide questions like whether people facing trial in serious crime cases can be allowed to contest and at which stage of trial, a lawmaker would stand disqualified.
“We must clarify this matter so that people know the law by next election," a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said while considering the submission that these issues needed to be decided at the earliest as many "dreaded criminals”, against whom charges have been framed by courts in serious cases, are planning to contest upcoming Assembly polls.
“We will soon constitute a Constitution bench to decide these issues,” the bench, also comprising Justices N V Ramana and D Y Chandrachud, said.
The question comes after Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in a PIL raised this issue. Asking for urgent hearing on many people who are facing trial in serious cases, may contest and win elections and hence the legal questions needed to be settled.
However, the bench also made this clear that it cannot give an immediate answer to these questions since there is fear of lodging false cases in elections.
The three-judge had referred to various PILs including the one filed by Upadhyay to the CJI asking questions like can a lawmaker, facing criminal trial, be disqualified at conviction stage or at the framing of charge in a case have to be decided by a larger bench.
Presently, a person, convicted in a serious criminal case, is barred from contesting polls and a lawmaker stands disqualified in event of conviction.
With PTI Inputs