New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday raised questions over the need for an Ordinance on convicted lawmakers by calling three ministers and seeking the rationale behind it.

Mukherjee called Home Minister and Leader of the House in Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde, Law Minister Kapil Sibal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and asked them to explain the need for an Ordinance on an issue that has come under attack from mainstream Opposition parties and civil society.

The President is said to be not in a hurry to give his assent to the Ordinance and may take legal opinion from experts before he take a decision.

The President can send the Ordinance back to the government for re-consideration and shall act in accordance with the advice tendered by the government after such re-consideration.

There was a Bill in Parliament on the issue and since it could not be passed during the Monsoon Session, the government had to come out with this Ordinance urgently, sources in the government said.

BJP urges Prez to refer Ordinance back to govt

Terming the Ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs as "immoral and unconstitutional", BJP on Thursday said that President Pranab Mukherjee is not "duty-bound" to give assent to it and suggested to him that he should send it back to the government.

BJP leader LK Advani, Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley met Mukherjee and submitted to him a memorandum on the issue and requested him to refer it back to the government.

Advani said, "As Sushma Swaraj has said earlier, this Ordinance is prima facie unconstitutional and we oppose it."

In the memorandum, BJP has pointed out that a bill on the issue is pending in the Rajya Sabha and has been referred by the Chairperson to a Standing Committee.

"What was the urgency that the government to bring this legislation through the ordinance route? The only compelling reason for bypassing Parliament and taking the ordinance route is to help a class of tainted politicians who have been already convicted or are apprehensive of a court judgement in near future," the memorandum said.

Ordinance ‘immoral and unconstitutional’

Swaraj described the Ordinance as "immoral and unconstitutional". She said the talks with President Mukherjee on the issue were good and that he has assured that he will examine the matter.

(JPN/Agencies)

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