Political parties united on Thursday against a Supreme Court order on criminals in politics, saying the judgment eroded supremacy of parliament. The government said it will come out with a statement in the coming session on the issue. Leaders from the Left parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) expressed concern over the implications of the order that disqualifies a legislator, if convicted in a criminal case, and bars him from contesting the polls if under arrest.
The issue was raised in the all-party meeting called by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath to ensure smooth running of parliament. "Leaders expressed serious concerns on the SC orders and erosion of supremacy of parliament," Kamal Nath told reporters.
The leaders said the government should address the issue as misuse of the law could be rampant just before any election. "We want a discussion on the apex court order," said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Basudeb Acharia.
BJP's Ravi Shankar Prasad, JD-U president Sharad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad also expressed their concerns on the issue. The government said it could make a statement.
"The SC order was mentioned by the parties. The government is likely to make some statement," union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who was also present during the meeting, told reporters later. Shinde is also leader of house in the Lok Sabha.
The opposition leaders also expressed concern over another SC order barring reservation in super-speciality courses at AIIMS. "The reservation issue has been settled. Why do the courts have to pass an order on it time and again. They give such orders, so the session may be disrupted," said JD-U leader Sharad Yadav.
Opposition leaders wanted debates on food security ordinance, land acquisition bill, judicial commission, condition of economy, rampant corruption in the mid-day meal scheme and floods in Uttarakhand. The BJP demanded the bill on formation of separate Telangana be brought in monsoon session.
However, Kamal Nath said this would not be possible. "It will have to follow the legal process under which a resolution is required to be passed by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly," he said.
The all-party meet, also attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram was called to discuss smooth functioning of the monsoon session (Aug 5 to 30). "We had a constructive meeting. The parties agreed on smooth running of parliament," said Kamal Nath.
The session will have 16 sittings during which as many as 44 bills are planned to be taken up for consideration while six are to be withdrawn and 14 are to be introduced, he said.