Bribery for votes: SC to decide whether MLAs are entitled to exemption

New Delhi: Can an MLA be prosecuted for taking bribe to vote in the House? A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Abdul Nazeer on Wednesday decided to consider on November 15 whether Articles 194(1) and 105(2) of the Constitution allowed prosecution of MLAs and MPs for taking or giving bribes to vote. exempted from. House.

As noted by the bench, this issue was covered by a Constitution Bench decision in PV Narasimha Rao’s case which held that an MLA was free from prosecution even though he had voted on the floor of the House. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta pointed out that it was a 3:2 judgment by a single-strength bench, a five-judge bench.

“The question is … whether it is an act within the House (to give or take bribe) or to consider the entire scope of the Act … whether there is immunity to the whole Act,” said the Bench, in which Justice Also included were BR Gavai, Justice AS Bopanna, Justice V Ramasubramaniam and Justice BV Nagarathna.

A three-judge bench headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi had on March 7, 2019 referred the question to a larger bench saying it involved important questions of law.

The 1998 verdict in the PV Narasimha Rao case (known as the JMM MPs’ bribery case) was by a five-judge bench. Another five-judge bench of the court ruled in the Raja Rampal case in 2007 that those who took money to ask questions in Parliament could be permanently expelled from the House. As the 1998 and 2007 judgments seem to contradict each other, the present issue may eventually go to a seven-judge bench.

Sita Soren, who was an MLA in the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly, is being tried by the CBI for allegedly accepting bribes to vote in the 2012 Rajya Sabha elections. He was accused of taking a bribe from a Rajya Sabha candidate to cast his vote for him, but instead voted for another candidate.

His father-in-law and JMM leader Shibu Soren was shielded from a 1998 Constitution Bench decision in which the apex court ruled that MPs who took money and voted in favor of Rao’s government were exempt from prosecution. However, it had ruled that those who had bribed JMM MPs were not exempt from prosecution.

According to Article 105(2), “No MP shall be liable for any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any panel thereof, and no The person shall not be so liable in respect of the publication of any report, vote or proceeding by or under the authority of either House of Parliament.” Petitioner Sita Soren has claimed protection under Article 194(2), which is similar to Article 105(2) and applies to MLAs.

Article 105(2) says, “No MP shall be liable for any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or voted in Parliament”.
JMM’s Shibu Soren had survived a 1998 Constitution Bench decision in which the SC ruled that MPs who took money to vote for the Narasimha Rao government were free from prosecution.
Sita Soren, who was an MLA from Jharkhand, is being prosecuted by the CBI for allegedly accepting a bribe to vote in the 2012 RS election.

Terming it an interim order, the SC refused to interfere with the Delhi HC order staying the Centre’s decision to sack Gujarat IPS officer Satish Chandra Verma on August 30, a month before his retirement. had refused. He had helped the SIT in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.