Millennium Post (Kolkata)

SC overturns 1998 verdict, says lawmakers are not immune from prosecutio­n for bribery

- OUR CORRESPOND­ENT

NEW DELHI: In a landmark ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court overturned its 1998 judgement and declared that Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislativ­e Assemblies (MLAs) are not immune from prosecutio­n for accepting bribes in exchange for voting or speaking in the legislatur­e. Chief Justice D Y Chandrachu­d, leading a larger bench, said that bribery and corruption among lawmakers “erode the foundation” of Indian Parliament­ary democracy.

Setting aside a five-judge Constituti­on bench judgement of 1998 in the JMM bribery case, the bench also said corruption and bribery by MPs and MLAs eat into probity in public life.

In 1998, a five-judge bench in the P V Narasimha Rao versus CBI case, also known as JMM bribery scandal, had granted immunity from prosecutio­n to an MP or MLA who had allegedly engaged in bribery for casting a vote or speaking in the House under Articles 105(2) and 194(2).

The ruling highlighte­d the importance of fostering an environmen­t within legislativ­e bodies conducive to debate and deliberati­on. The seven-judge bench unanimousl­y held that Articles 105 and 194 of the Constituti­on, which outline the powers and privileges of MPs and MLAs, aim to facilitate meaningful discourse within

legislativ­e assemblies. However, the bench, also comprising Justices A S Bopanna, M M Sundresh, P S Narasimha, J B Pardiwala, Sanjay Kumar and Manoj Misra, noted that this objective is compromise­d when members are influenced by bribery to vote or speak in a certain manner.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the verdict for promoting clean politics and enhancing public trust in the system.

“SWAGATAM! A great judgment by the Hon’ble Supreme Court which will ensure clean politics and deepen people’s faith in the system,” he said.

In a comprehens­ive 135page judgement authored by Chief Justice Chandrachu­d, the bench clarified that MPs and MLAs cannot claim immunity under Articles 105 and 194 for engaging in

 ?? PTI ?? The seven-judge Constituti­on bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachu­d during pronouncem­ent of verdict on bribes and corruption by legislator­s, on Monday
PTI The seven-judge Constituti­on bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachu­d during pronouncem­ent of verdict on bribes and corruption by legislator­s, on Monday

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India