Rahul's parliament membership is over, now what: will be able to contest elections, will go to jail, 8 years break or something else; 7 important answers
Rahul Gandhi is no longer an MP. On Friday, the Lok Sabha Secretariat issued its notification. He has been disqualified from membership of Parliament under Article 102(1) of the Constitution and Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
A day before, i.e. on Thursday, Surat court found him guilty of defamation and sentenced him to 2 years imprisonment. Rahul had commented on the Modi surname in the 2019 election speech. In this case, a defamation case was going on against him. The Surat court had given its verdict on this. However, he was also granted bail immediately.
What are the options available to Rahul Gandhi after becoming an MP, answers to 7 important questions in PPJ Research
Question 1: Can the decision to end Rahul's parliament membership be challenged in the Supreme Court?
Answer: Rahul Gandhi can challenge the Lok Sabha Secretariat's notification of cancellation of his membership in the Supreme Court. If someone's rights are violated in the Indian constitution, then he can go to the High Court or the Supreme Court. One can also go to the High Court under Article 226 and can also go to the Supreme Court under Article 32.
This can also be understood from the example of SP MLA Azam Khan from Rampur seat of UP in the last months of 2022.
On 27 October 2022, the court of Rampur sentenced Azam Khan to three years in the case of hate speech. The very next day, the UP Assembly Secretariat canceled Azam's assembly membership. The Election Commission issued a notification the very next day. It said that the schedule for the by-election will be released on 10 November.
Azam went to the Supreme Court against this whole process. He argued that such haste in disqualifying, vacating the seat and releasing the schedule for the by-election was not appropriate, that too when his appeal against the conviction was to be heard in the Sessions Court.
On this appeal of Azam, the Supreme Court asked the Election Commission, the Assembly Secretary and the UP government why so much speed is being shown in the matter. Azam should be given a chance to breathe. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and his bench had stayed the process of by-election till the completion of the hearing in the sessions court. Also, the sessions court was asked to complete the hearing on Azam Khan's appeal within 10 days. However, later the sessions court did not give any relief on the conviction of Azam Khan.
That is, like Azam, Rahul Gandhi can also challenge the Lok Sabha Secretariat's notification of cancellation of his membership in the Supreme Court.
Question-2: If Rahul Gandhi's conviction is canceled by the High Court, will Rahul's membership be restored?
Answer: Rahul Gandhi will appeal in the High Court against the sentence of 2 years in the defamation case. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal says that if Rahul Gandhi's conviction is canceled or stayed by the higher court, then his Lok Sabha membership will remain intact.
Some experts say that even if Rahul's conviction is quashed by the High Court, or his sentence is reduced, his membership will not automatically be reinstated. For this, Rahul Gandhi will again have to go to the High Court or the Supreme Court.
This is because the speaker himself will not reverse his decision. If the decision of the High Court or the Constitution Bench comes, they can change their decision.
On the other hand, if by-elections are held in Wayanad before such a decision, then Rahul's Lok Sabha membership will not be restored.
Question-3: Will there be by-elections on the vacant Wayanad seat after Rahul's membership?
Answer: Yes, because the general elections to the Lok Sabha are to be held in May 2024. That means it has more than 6 months to happen now. According to the constitution, if there is more than 6 months for the general election, then there will be a bye-election for the Wayanad seat in Kerala.
Question-4: If by-elections are held on Wayanad seat, will Rahul Gandhi be able to contest again?
Answer: Rahul Gandhi can contest the by-election from Wayanad seat only under two circumstances…
1. Before the declaration of the by-election and the last date of his nomination, the big court should put a stay on Rahul's conviction in the original case of defamation.
So far, Rahul has not challenged the decision of the Magistrate Court of Surat. Congress sources say that since the judgment is of 150 pages and is in Gujarati. In such a situation, its translation is being done.
2. The Supreme Court should ban or cancel the notification of cancellation of Rahul's Lok Sabha membership. All this should happen before the declaration of the by-election and the last date for his nomination. If this happens, Rahul will be able to contest the by-election from Wayanad.
Given the current situation, the chances of both these options are slim. By-elections may happen before Rahul gets any relief from anywhere.
Question-5: What will happen if Rahul Gandhi does not get any relief from the upper court?
Answer: Rahul's legal battle will be on two fronts.
1. Against conviction in defamation case.
2. Against notification of cancellation of membership on the basis of punishment of two years.
If Rahul's conviction in the defamation case is not quashed or stayed, he will have to serve two years' imprisonment after one month and he will not be able to contest any election even after six years. If this happens, then there will be a break of 8 years in the career of Rahul's electoral politics.
If the sentence is reduced to less than 2 years in appeal, then Rahul will get another option to fight the legal battle.
Question 6: Did the membership of MPs end after being proved guilty earlier also?Is it and he could not contest again?
Answer: Since the introduction of 'Representation of the People's Act 1951' in the country, many MPs and MLAs have lost their membership.
Loksabha by-election may be announced in Wayanad in April, churning of EC begins as soon as Rahul's MP leaves
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