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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Vote-for-Bribe: Supreme Court Says No Immunity for MPs and MLAs

A seven-judge Supreme Court bench headed that lawmakers, including MPs and MLAs, can be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act if they receive monetary benefits for their votes and speeches in Parliament or assembly, overturning the apex court’s 1998 decision in the PV Narasimha Rao case.

“An MP/MLA can’t claim immunity from prosecution on a charge of bribery in connection with the vote or speech in the legislative house,” the seven-judge panel said.

According to the Supreme Court, corruption or bribery by a member of legislature erodes probity in public life and accepting bribes itself constitutes the offence.

“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,” it said.

Parliamentary privileges are essentially related to the House collectively and necessary for its functioning, said the seven-judge bench.

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