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PM Modi hails Supreme Court's judgement on immunity to lawmakers in bribery cases

March 04, 2024 04:56 PM

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the Supreme Court's ruling on Monday that legislators cannot claim immunity from prosecution in bribery cases related to casting votes or giving speech in Parliament or Legislative Assembly.

"SWAGATAM! A great judgment by the Supreme Court which will ensure clean politics and deepen people's faith in the system," PM Modi said in a post on X, welcoming the apex court's judgment.

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 an 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 judgment is contrary to Articles 105 and 194 of the constitution.

The court said that interpretation which 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 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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