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India, Politics

Ban convicted MPs, MLAs from contesting polls for life: Election Commission tells SC

The Election Commission has supported imposing a life ban on convicted MPs and MLAs from contesting polls on Wednesday during a hearing in Supreme Court. The Election Commission said it favours barring convicted MLAs, MPs for life.

The central poll body faced criticism of the Supreme Court for not taking a clear stand on an appeal seeking to bar convicted politicians for life in July. A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha slammed poll panel and asked whether it was ‘constrained’ to give its thoughts on the issue.

“Is silence an option for you (ECI)? You must say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether you are supporting the petitioner. You are the ECI and here is a citizen of India who has come here to seek life-time debarment of convicted persons. Can you say I will be silent? No, you cannot,” the bench said.

“If you (ECI) feel constrained by the legislature, then let us know. If you are even constrained to the extent of giving your view, feel free and say so clearly,” it said.

After ECI’s response, the SC said it was clear that the poll body has supported the cause advocated by petitioner, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking a life ban for convicted politicians.

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