TODAY -

Advantages of being disqualified

Free Thinker *



Any Hon. Members convicted of any offense and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 2 years shall be disqualified ( as MP or MLA) from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his/her release.

So the ponderable point is, once you have cases pending in the courts you must be extra careful – any judge can send you to jail for 2 years or more - then you are out instantly from the Assembly or Parliament. These are part of our cheques and balances system.

When you are declared disqualified as a Member of Parliament or an MLA there are many advantages. First, you are no longer responsible to the legislature to which you belong. Second, you are free from the responsibilities of the elected representative of the people.

Third, no one will come and request for your letter of recommendation (Ex Member’s letters lack sting). Fourth, you are free from the nitty-gritty of the local area development fund. Fifth, you are liberated from the ruckus in the Chamber. Once disqualified, you may hold any office of profit under the State or Union Government.

Full research is on to find out all the benefits of a disqualified Member. Whether they get the facilities and amenities equal to an Ex Member. One expert says why not? Others don’t agree.

Sometimes the matter of disqualification is referred to either the President or the Governor as per the requirement of the law. Before giving any decision disqualification question, the President/Governor shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to their opinion. But in the case of criminal cases and conviction-related disqualifications, the procedure is somewhat automatic.

A Member may obtain this status of disqualification via various means - through the channel of the Tenth Schedule that is anti-defection law; defecting from one party to another when you are a legislator either in Parliament or State Assembly.

As a citizen, you may take money /fee for doing an act. Normally such actions can be seen at the time of the trial of strength or in common parlance proving majority in the ‘House’. Making money and getting yourself disqualified – is not uncommon. In a democracy, you often stand either for money or ministership, or membership.

The presiding officer can play a decisive role in disqualification cases of Hon Members... Disqualification cases may linger on and on till the Speaker gives a verdict. There is no timeline to decide a case of disqualification of a sitting member of the house. This applies to 10TH Schedule or wrong declarations, privilege issues, office of profit matters, etc.

As far as disqualification on the basis of court conviction is concerned - the power of the Presiding officer is limited. Once the Court says you are convicted of 2 years in jail; your membership automatically goes.

If the Court is not communicating the verdict to the Speaker officially - the membership can still continue. Once the verdict is conveyed to the Presiding officer – he has no option except to issue the disqualification order.

In the case of criminal convictions – if you commit a crime as a legislator and the conviction given is for 2 years or more – your membership vanishes. You can of course challenge the verdict till the end. Until and unless the verdict is stayed or quashed you are no more a Member.

In the exchange of verbal fire during elections there will be injuries on both sides; rather many sides; we are a multi-party democracy. The mudslinging, running down, and defaming utterances during election campaigns are normal business. Many times inadvertently you yell words that are unparliamentary or unpalatable. Can’t we say sorry after the hustings?

The press is the fourth pillar of democracy. Vibrant Democracy must encourage the freedom of the press. Media as usual should be the watchdog; they are to say who is doing right and who is going wrong. The vigor of democracy is squeezed when the media is prevented from publishing or showing the wrongs.

However today fake news can mislead people. We must be careful. Fake news can play havoc. Defamation cases hamper media freedom. And criminal defamation suits amongst politicians deter democracy.

If you really want to go to jail and relax; then it is alright; – you may not be harassed in jail by other Agencies except by a few rowdy elements inside. You may not worry about the election for at least 8 years (if convicted for 2 years). From inside you can still indulge in many things.

There are many advantages to operating from the inside. You don’t need security; even the internal goons respect honorable convicts. Once you are out, you become either a hero or zero – that will again depend on your social media managers. They will behave according to your payment capacity.

Perhaps the best advantage of being disqualified as a Member of Parliament or MLA is that you will be emancipated from the pandemonium of the ‘House’ and you will be at peace.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on March 27 2023 .



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