On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the Representation of People Act, 1951? Also mention the remedies available to such person against his disqualification.
The Representation of People Act, 1951 provides for the terms and qualification/disqualification of the members of the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and the state legislatures.
The Representation of People Act, 1951 was passed by the parliament under Article 327 of the constitution which provides for the conduct of election to the parliament and state legislatures.
The president decides on the disqualification based on the recommendations of the Election Commission.
Grounds for Disqualification
- On conviction for certain election offences and corrupt practices in the election.
- Conviction for an offence punishable under certain acts of Indian Penal Code, Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 etc, wherein the convicted person is sentenced to — (i) only fine, for a period of six years from the date of such conviction; (ii) imprisonment, from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
- A conviction for any offence resulting in imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
- Convicted under any law providing for the prevention of hoarding or profiteering; or any law relating to the adulteration of food or drugs; or any provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
- On the ground of corrupt practices.
- Dismissal from government service corruption or disloyalty
- Holding an office under Government Company if the person is a managing agent, manager or secretary of any company or corporation (other than a cooperative society) in the capital of which the appropriate Government has not less than twenty-five per cent share.
- Failure to lodge account of election expenses
- Promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery
Remedies available to such person against his disqualification
The disqualifications can be challenged in the respective high courts and the order of the High Court can again be questioned in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court put the rider on the remedies available by striking down the Section 8 clause (4) of the Representation of Peoples Act which provided for convicted lawmakers to retain their seats if they filed an appeal within 3 months of their conviction.