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Opposition Leader Loses Seat in Indian Parliament

  • Published
    25th Mar, 2023
Context

Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s membership of India’s lower house of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, has been cancelled following his conviction and sentencing by a local court in Surat.

What are the important rules pertaining to ‘disqualification’?

  • The law under which Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified is the Representation of People Act, 1951.
  • Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 states that “a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to 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.”
  • Disqualification under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 is enabled by Article 102 (1) of the Constitution of India.

Grounds of disqualification

  • Article 102 deals with the disqualification of MPs from either house of the Parliament.
    • Part (1) of the article lists the reasons why an MP can be disqualified. These include,
      1. if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State, other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder;
      2. if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court;
      3.  if he is an undischarged insolvent;
      4. if he is not a citizen of India, or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State, or is under any acknowledgment of allegiance or adherence to a foreign State;
      5. if he is so disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament

Way forward

  • The Supreme Court in its ruling in Lok Prahari v Union of India (2018) clarified that a disqualification triggered by a conviction will be reversed if the conviction is stayed by a court. 
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