ANI Photo | “Corrected every wrong judgement…” Former LS General Secretary over SC’s decision on no immunity to lawmakers in bribery cases

Former General Secretary of Lok Sabha, P. D. Thankappan Achary on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgement that an MP or MLA cannot claim immunity from prosecution on a charge of bribery in connection with a vote/speech in Parliament/ Legislative Assembly.
The former General Secretary said that the decision taken by the apex court corrected every wrong judgment that was given in 1998 in the PV Narasimha Rao case.
Recalling the PV Narasimha Rao case of 1998, Achary said, “Well, I must say that SC today’s judgement corrected every wrong judgement that was given in 1998 in the PV Narasimha Rao case. Actually, many of us thought that was a wrong judgement in 1998. In that case, if you are a member of a house and you have taken a bribe to vote, you will get immunity and if it was a case of corruption but member can’t be prosecuted because he gets the immunity under Act 105, and he can’t be prosecuted under the act. At that time it made many issues.”
“It also means that an MP or MLA can take money from anybody and cast his votes in his interest/favour. This is the very unethical thing,” he added.
Hailing the apex court judgement, Achary said that corruption is not a privilege and if anyone does corruption they will be punishable under the act.
“Now the 7-judge bench overruled the 1998 Supreme Court judgement. SC judgement delivered today corrected the wrong judgement of 1998. The apex court clearly says corruption is not a privilege, and therefore if you do corruption you will be liable to charge as corrupt and you will be punishable under the act,” he said.
Earlier in the day, a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that an MP or MLA cannot claim immunity from prosecution on a charge of bribery in connection with the vote or speech in the Parliament or Legislative Assembly.
In a unanimous view, the SC’s Constitution Bench overruled the 1998 judgement in the PV Narasimha Rao case.
The top court held that corruption and bribery by legislators destroy the functioning of Indian Parliamentary democracy. The bench headed by the CJI said that the bribery is not rendered immune citing Article 105 or 194.
“A member indulging in bribery indulges in a criminal act which is not essential for casting a vote or giving a speech in the legislature,” the CJI said.
The Supreme Court said that the interpretation of PV Narasimha’s judgment is contrary to Articles 105 and 194 of the constitution. The court said that the interpretation that has been placed on the issue in question and the judgment of the majority in PV Narasimha Rao results in a paradoxical outcome where a legislator is conferred with immunity when they accept a bribe and follow through by voting in the agreed direction.
The interpretation of PV Narasimha’s judgement is contrary to Articles 105 and 194, the CJI added.
Chief Justice Chandrachud further observed that the offence of bribe is crystallised on the taking of illegal gratification and it does not depend on whether the vote or speech is given later

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