A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Maharashtra and Delhi government to sack their respective cabinet ministers, Nawab Malik and Satyendar Jain, both presently in judicial custody in connection with cases of money laundering. The petition sought direction to the Centre, the Election Commission of India, Law Commission, Delhi Government and Maharastra Government to ensure that the ministers shall be temporarily debarred from holding the office, after two days in judicial custody (like IAS, IPS, judges and other public servants are suspended from their services).
Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay through Advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey stated that being the custodian of the Constitution, direct the Law Commission of India to examine election law of developed countries and prepare a comprehensive report to maintain nobility and dignity of Ministers, Legislators and Public Servants in the spirit of Article 14. The plea stated that the injury is large because Minister is not only a public servant under Section 21 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 2(c) of the Prevention of Corruption Act but also a law maker, which is a noble post and takes constitutional oath under Schedule-3.
The Minister gets a salary, free rail ticket, free air ticket and several other allowances and perks for entire tenure and pension and other benefits for a lifetime. So, he is a full-time salaried public servant like IAS, IPS, and Judges. But, unlike the public servants, Ministers like Nawab Malik and Satyendra Jain are still enjoying constitutional positions, even while being in judicial custody for a long time, which is arbitrary and contrary to Article 14, the plea stated The current legislative framework permits criminals to enter the electoral process and become legislators, thus (a) interfering with the purity and integrity of the electoral process; (b) violating the right to choose freely the candidate of the voters choice and, therefore, the freedom of expression of voter under Article 19(1); (c) amounts to a subversion of democracy, which is part of the basic structure; and (d) is antithetical to the rule of law which is at the core of Article 14, the plea said.
Court has repeatedly issued directions in the past to the Election Commission to exercise its powers under Article 324 with respect to superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of elections to Parliament and the State legislatures to redress violations of the fundamental rights and to protect the purity of the electoral process, stated the plea. (ANI)
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