The Union Cabinet on Saturday refused to make any changes in the ordinance on electoral reforms returned to it by President A P J Abdul Kalam.
Last week, the President had returned the ordinance seeking clarification on the absence of provision relating to guidelines on declaration of previous cases of conviction and assets by a candidate. He also wanted to know why the proposal relating to disqualification of a candidate in case charges were framed against him/her in two or more cases of heinous offences was dropped.
After a meeting, the Cabinet decided to send the ordinance back "as it is", leaving the President with no option but to give assent to it under Article 74 of the Constitution.
The article provides that the President may require the Cabinet to reconsider any advice of the Council of Ministers, but he "shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration."
"The proposed ordinance is only a replica of the Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2002, which was listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha on August 12, 2002," an official spokesperson said after the meeting, adding that the bill could not be introduced as the House was adjourned sine die.
"Considering the total political consensus on which the bill to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1951, was drafted and the ordinance being an exact replica of the bill, the Cabinet today decided to request the President to give assent to the promulgation of the ordinance in its present form under Article 123 of the Constitution," she said.
Article 123 relates to the power of President to promulgate an ordinance when Parliament is in recess.
The spokesperson added that Attorney-General Soli J Sorabjee and Solicitor-General Harish Salve were present at the meeting to give their views on the issue.
The bill and, later, the proposed ordinance stemmed from the May 2 Supreme Court order on electoral reforms.
The apex court had directed the Election Commission to ask candidates contesting parliamentary or assembly elections to furnish details about their criminal antecedents, assets, liability and educational qualifications.
The commission on June 28 decided to implement the court's directives and prescribed an affidavit to be furnished by candidates along with their nomination papers.
With inputs from PTI
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