Bribery shield taken away by SC: Just as well

While Articles 105 and 194 provide lawmakers a legal shield to enable them to work without fear, the court on Monday disagreed that this encompassed bribery. (HT_PRINT)
While Articles 105 and 194 provide lawmakers a legal shield to enable them to work without fear, the court on Monday disagreed that this encompassed bribery. (HT_PRINT)

Summary

  • The Supreme Court has held that lawmakers are not immune from prosecution in cases of bribery for making a speech or voting a certain way in Parliament or state legislatures. Lawmakers, as our representatives, should welcome the verdict.

The Supreme Court has held that lawmakers are not immune from prosecution in cases of bribery for making a speech or voting a certain way in Parliament or state legislatures. The verdict of the seven-judge bench sets aside the judgement in the 1998 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha case, in which a five-member bench of the apex court had upheld the immunity of lawmakers. 

While Articles 105 and 194 provide them a legal shield to enable them to work without fear, the court on Monday disagreed that this encompassed bribery. “To give any privilege unconnected to the functioning of Parliament or legislature will lead to creating a class that enjoys unchecked exemptions from the operation of law of the land," the court said. “Corruption and bribery of members of the legislature erode the functioning of democracy," it added. 

This rights a wrong judicial example that had been set in India. While lawmakers do need some privileges to better discharge their duties, this doesn’t imply they can live above the law. Corruption, especially, should be dealt with sternly, whether it takes places outside or in Parliament. As representatives, lawmakers should welcome the ruling.

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