In India, supreme court ends immunity for legislators prosecuted for bribery for votes

By Suchitra Kalyan Mohanty, 4 March
Supreme Court of India (photo credit: Subhashish Panigrahi)
Supreme Court of India (photo credit: Subhashish Panigrahi)
In a significant move, the Supreme Court on [4 March] said that Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) cannot claim immunity from prosecution in cases of bribery for votes or speeches in the House. [...] Articles 105 and 194 of the Constitution, deal with the powers and privileges of MPs and MLAs in the Parliament and the legislative assemblies. The legal shield provided to lawmakers under these articles protects them from prosecution. These provisions were put in place to ensure that MPs and MLAs can work without the fear of legal action being taken against them. [...] The recent verdict by the apex court overturns the 1998 judgment in the PV Narasimha Rao case. [...] The seven-judge bench today said the 1998 majority verdict has "wide ramifications on public interest, probity in public life and parliamentary democracy". "An individual member of the legislature cannot assert a claim of privilege to seek immunity under Articles 105 and 194 from prosecution on a charge of bribery in connection with a vote or speech in the legislature," it said. The recent judgment highlights that accepting a bribe is a separate crime that is not linked to the actions or words of a lawmaker within the Parliament or legislative assembly. Therefore, the immunity provided under Articles 105 and 194 does not extend to cases of bribery, as these do not pertain to the duties of lawmakers.
Read the full article here: Times of India


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