Home Immunity Bribe to vote: SC to decide whether MPs qualify for immunity: The Tribune India

Bribe to vote: SC to decide whether MPs qualify for immunity: The Tribune India

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Tribune press service

New Delhi, September 28

Can a lawmaker be prosecuted for accepting bribes to vote in the House? A bench of five Constitutional Justices headed by Justice Abdul Nazeer decided on Wednesday to consider on November 15 whether Articles 194(1) and 105(2) of the Constitution granted immunity to MPs and MPs from prosecution. for accepting or paying bribes to vote in the Loger.

As the bench noted, the issue was covered by a Constitutional Bench decision in the PV Narasimha Rao case in which it was held that a lawmaker was immune from prosecution even if he or she was taking money to vote on the floor of the House, attorney General Tushar Mehta pointed out that it was a 3 to 2 verdict by a bench of the same strength, that is- that is, a bench of five judges.

“The question is … is it the act (of giving or receiving bribes) within the House or the whole scope of the act must be taken into account … immunity is there for the whole act or not,” noted the bench, which also included Justice BR Gavai, Justice AS Bopanna, Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice BV Nagarathna.

On March 7, 2019, a bench of three judges led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi referred the matter to a larger bench, saying it involved important questions of law.

The 1998 verdict in the PV Narasimha Rao case (popularly known as the JMM MP Corruption Case) was delivered by a bench of five judges. Another bench of five judges in the court had in 2007 ruled in the case of Raja Rampal that those who took money to ask questions in Parliament were liable to be expelled from the House permanently. As the 1998 and 2007 verdicts appear contradictory, the current issue may ultimately be referred to a bench of seven judges.

Sita Soren, who was a member of the Jharkhand Assembly, is being prosecuted by the CBI for allegedly accepting bribes for voting in the 2012 Rajya Sabha poll. She had been accused of receiving bribes. de-vin of a Rajya Sabha candidate for voting for him, but instead voted for another candidate.

His father-in-law and JMM leader Shibu Soren was saved by the 1998 Constitution Bench verdict, in which the Supreme Court ruled that MPs who took money and voted for Rao’s government were immune from prosecution. However, he had ruled that those who had paid the bribe to the JMM deputies were not immune from prosecution.

According to Rule 105(2), “No Member shall be liable in court in respect of anything said or any vote cast by him in Parliament or in any of its panels, and no shall not be responsible for the publication by or under the authority of either House of Parliament of any report, vote or deliberation.The petitioner Sita Soren claimed protection under Article 194(2) which is identical to Article 105(2) and applies to mutual legal assistance.

Past precedents and what the law says

  • Section 105(2) states that “no Member shall be liable to any suit in court in respect of anything said or voted in Parliament”
  • JMM’s Shibu Soren was saved by the 1998 Constitution Bench verdict in which the SC ruled that MPs who took money to vote for Narasimha Rao’s government were immune from prosecution
  • Sita Soren, who was an MP for Jharkhand, is being prosecuted by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe for voting in the 2012 RS poll

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