New Delhi: The Verma panel's recommendation for disqualification of candidates against whom criminal charges have been framed has found little favour with Law Minister Ashwani Kumar who instead wants fast-tracking of such cases, preferably to be decided by a lower court within 18 months.

The Law Minister said he has had preliminary discussion with Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath on the issue of electoral reforms and the Law Commission has been asked to submit "concrete suggestions" on the issue by April.
Kumar said the government would "vigorously take forward" the discussion with political parties to forge a broad political consensus and then bring in the requisite legislation where necessary.

Talking about the recommendation of Justice J S Verma Committee, he said there are "strong arguments on both sides" with regard to the suggestion for disqualification of candidates against whom charges have been framed in cases having minimum punishment of five years.

"Personally speaking, I believe we will have to address the dichotomy between the number of cases in which charges have been registered and the number of cases in which actual conviction has been possible," he told PTI in an interview.

He was asked whether a person should be debarred from contesting elections if charges are framed as recommended by the Verma Committee or the present law should apply under which a candidate can be prohibited from contesting only if convicted with minimum two year's imprisonment.


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