New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the legal provision that protects a lawmaker from disqualification even after conviction in a criminal case. The Apex Court ruled that MPs or MLAs shall stand disqualified from the date of their conviction.

The Apex Court held Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) as ultra vires. The section allows a convicted legislator to remain in office till his or her appeal remains pending.

"The only question is about the vires of section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) and we hold that it is ultra vires and that the disqualification takes place from the date of conviction," a bench of Justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhaya said.

The court, however, said that its decision will not apply to MPs, MLAs or other lawmakers who have been convicted and have already filed their appeals in the courts before the pronouncement of today’s ruling of the Apex Court.

Out of 4,835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1,448 are facing criminal cases, a report said.

The Apex Court's verdict came on the petitions filed by Lily Thomas and NGO Lok Prahari. The PILs had said that certain sections of RPA allow convicted lawmakers to continue in office while their appeals are pending and thus those provisions are "discriminatory and encourage criminalization of politics".


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