The Times of India
New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Civil rights activists have urgedPresident Pranab Mukherjee not to give his approval to the government's ordinance that will undo the Supreme Court order on disqualification of lawmakers if they are convicted by a court of law. The Union Cabinet passed the ordinance on Tuesday. 

In a letter to the President, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)'s founder member Jagdeep Chhokar said that through the ordinance, the "executive was overlooking and riding roughshod over the expressed will of the judiciary and the legislature against all norms of the system of checks and balances which is enshrined in the Constitution". 

Chhokar said both the judiciary and the legislature had rejected the move. The SC had rejected the review petition filed by the Centre on its order and the Rajya Sabha had chosen to send the bill brought by the government to the standing committee for further consultation rather than passing it. 

Chhokar's letter added, "To send the draft of such an ordinance to you (the President) under the above circumstances in a way amounts to inviting you to be a party to doing something that goes against the norms of democratic and constitutional functioning.'' 

RTI activist Subhash Agrawal said, "Union Cabinet has left no stone unturned to prove that India has a unique type of democracy where it is a system for the politicians, by the politicians and of the politicians. President Pranab Mukherjee should rise to the occasion by declining to sign the anti-public ordinance. Or else, the Supreme Court can quiz the government for such useless ordinance which unnecessarily burdens public exchequer by having convicted leaders as showpieces." 

Aiming to change the law, the government brought the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013, in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session, but it could not be passed. 

The ordinance, once approved by the President, will have to be passed by Parliament during the winter session.

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