No Immunity For MPs, MLAs In Bribery Cases: Supreme Court

No Immunity For MPs, MLAs In Bribery Cases: Supreme Court

New Delhi, March 4 (TNA) MP’s and MLA’s will not get relief from lawsuit in the note-for-vote case, Supreme Court reversed its decision. MPs and MLAs may lose the relief they got from lawsuits in the case of taking bribe in exchange for vote. The Supreme Court has expressed its disagreement with this exemption and has overturned its previous decision given in 1998. A seven-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud delivered its verdict on the matter.

Apart from the Chief Justice, the Constitution bench included Justice AS Bopanna, Justice MM Sundaresh, Justice PS Narasimha, Justice JP Pardiwala, Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Manoj Mishra. The central government had argued against exemption from the case

The Constitution Bench had reserved its decision on October 5 last year after completing the hearing regarding reconsideration of its decision on the 1998 JMM bribery case. During the hearing in October, the Central Government had opposed the privilege granted in the vote-for-bribe case in the Supreme Court. The government had said in its argument that bribery can never be a matter of immunity from prosecution. Parliamentary privilege does not mean placing an MP-bill above the law.

During the hearing in the Supreme Court, the proposal to consider derogatory statements in Parliament or Assembly as a crime was also discussed. The proposal demanded that derogatory statements in the House by MPs and MLAs should not be exempted from the law so that criminal prosecution can be initiated against those who do so. However, during the hearing, the Supreme Court had rejected the proposal to consider rhetoric as a crime.

The Supreme Court said that no action can be taken against the MPs and MLAs for saying anything inside the House and they have complete freedom inside the House. Jharkhand MLA Sita Soren was accused of taking bribe in exchange for votes in the Rajya Sabha elections in 2012. A criminal case is going on against him in this matter. In her defense on these allegations, Sita Soren had argued that she has the right to say anything or vote for anyone in the House and she has the privilege under Article 194 (2) of the Constitution. Under which they cannot be prosecuted for these things.

On the basis of this argument, Sita Soren had demanded quashing of the case going against her. On this, the Supreme Court decided to review by a seven-judge bench a decision of a five-judge Constitution bench given in 1998 on the 1993 bribery scandal. It is being reviewed whether MPs and MLAs will continue to be exempted from criminal cases in case of speaking in the House and voting in exchange of notes or not?

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