W.P. (C) No. 536 of 2011. Case: Public Interest Foundation and Ors. Vs Union of India (UOI) and Anr.. Supreme Court (India)

Case NumberW.P. (C) No. 536 of 2011
JudgesR.M. Lodha and Kurian Joseph, JJ.
IssueRepresentation of People Act, 1951 - Sections 8, 8(1), 8(2), 8(3), 123, 125A; Constitution of India - Articles 84, 102, 173, 191; Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC)- Section 173
Citation2014 (3) SCALE 563
Judgement DateMarch 10, 2014
CourtSupreme Court (India)


  1. On 16.12.2013, this Court requested the Law Commission of India (for short, 'Law Commission') to expedite consideration of the two issues, namely, (1) whether disqualification should be triggered upon conviction as it exists today or upon framing of charges by the court or upon the presentation of the report by the Investigating Officer Under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure [Issue No. 3. 1(ii) of the Consultation Paper] and (2) whether filing of false affidavits Under Section 125A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 should be a ground of disqualification? and, if yes, what mode and mechanism needs to be provided for adjudication on the veracity of the affidavit? [Issue No. 3.5 of the Consultation Paper]. In pursuance of the above order, the Law Commission has prepared its recommendation in the form of 244th Report titled 'Electoral Disqualifications'. The report was forwarded by the Chairman, Law Commission to the Minister for Law and Justice. A copy of the same has been placed on record.

  2. At the outset, we record our appreciation for the excellent work done by the Law Commission in the short time. The 244th Report shall be of significant use at the time of consideration of the above two questions.

  3. In so far as the first question is concerned, the Law Commission has observed that disqualification upon conviction has proved to be incapable of curbing the growing criminalisation of politics, owing to long delays in trials and rare convictions. The law needs to evolve to pose an effective deterrence, and to prevent subversion of the process of justice. In the opinion of the Law Commission, the filing of the police report Under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is not an appropriate stage to introduce electoral disqualifications owing to the lack of sufficient application of judicial mind at this stage. The stage of framing of charges is based on adequate levels of judicial scrutiny, and disqualification at the stage of charging, if accompanied by substantial attendant legal safeguards to prevent misuse, has significant potential in curbing the spread of criminalisation of politics. Having regard to all this, the Law Commission has suggested that the following safeguards must be incorporated into the disqualification:

    (i) Only offences which have a maximum punishment of five years or above ought to be included within the remit of this provision.

    (ii) Charges filed up to one year before the date of...

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