SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery

SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery
SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery
SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery
SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery

SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery

SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery…..image/ANI

SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity for Bribery

A landmark decision by a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has brought an end to the immunity that Members of Parliament (MP) or Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) enjoyed regarding charges of bribery related to votes or speeches in the Parliament or Legislative Assembly. The ruling, issued on Monday, unanimously overturned the 1998 judgment in the PV Narasimha Rao case, signaling a significant shift in the legal landscape.

SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity:Disagreement with PV Narasimha Rao Case

Chief Justice DY Chandrachud expressed disagreement with the PV Narasimha Rao case during the hearing, highlighting the wide-reaching implications of granting immunity to legislators for alleged bribery linked to their actions in the legislative houses. The court emphasized that corruption and bribery by legislators undermine the functioning of Indian Parliamentary democracy.

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SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity:Bribery Not Immune Under Articles 105 and 194

The Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud, held that bribery committed by a member of the legislature is not rendered immune by citing Article 105 or 194 of the constitution. The court pointed out that accepting a bribe is a criminal act, distinct from the essential acts of casting a vote or delivering a speech in the legislature.

SC Strikes Down Parliamentary Immunity:Paradoxical Outcome of PV Narasimha Judgment

The court criticized the interpretation of the PV Narasimha judgment, asserting that it contradicts Articles 105 and 194 of the constitution. The majority opinion in PV Narasimha Rao resulted in a paradoxical outcome, conferring immunity on legislators who accept bribes and subsequently vote as agreed. Chief Justice Chandrachud stressed that the offence of bribery is crystallized upon the acceptance of illegal gratification, irrespective of when the vote or speech is delivered.

Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, commenting on the verdict, emphasized that the Supreme Court’s ruling clarifies that legislators taking bribes for questions or votes in the legislature will no longer be immune to prosecution. He highlighted that accused legislators would be subject to corruption charges without any special protocols, emphasizing the court’s stance on preserving India’s parliamentary democracy.

The seven-judge bench, led by the Chief Justice of India, had reserved its order in October after hearing submissions. The decision followed a referral by a five-judge bench, recognizing the importance of the issue and its significant impact on the morality of the polity. The court underscored the purpose of Articles 105(2) and 194(2) as ensuring that members of parliament and state legislatures can fulfill their duties freely without fear of consequences.

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