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Supreme Court Verdict in JMM Bribery Case lauded by PM

Utkarsh Classes 04-03-2024
Supreme Court Verdict in JMM Bribery Case lauded by PM Supreme Court 4 min read

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the Supreme Court's decision in the JMM bribery case, calling it a "great judgment" that will promote "clean politics". 

  • The panel of judges involved in the case included justices AS Bopanna, MM Sundresh, PS Narasimha, JB Pardiwala, Sanjay Kumar, and Manoj Misra.

About the JMM Bribery Case

  • This is a Criminal Appeal dated 17 February 2014 of the High Court of Jharkhand. The appellant  from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was accused of accepting a bribe from an independent candidate during an election. 
  • However, as per the open balloting, she did not cast her vote in favor of the alleged bribe giver and instead cast her vote in favor of a candidate belonging to her own party. 
  • The appellant sought protection under Article 194(2) of the Constitution, relying on the judgment of the Constitution Bench in PV Narasimha Rao v. State (CBI/SPE). 
  • On 20 September 2023 the matter was referred to a larger bench of seven judges.

Supreme Court overruled the Narasimha Rao verdict 1998

  • The recent Supreme Court verdict has overturned the 1998 Narasimha Rao verdict, which provided protection to MPs who had received bribes for voting in favour of the Narasimha Rao-led Congress government in 1993. 
  • In a unanimous verdict, the Chief Justice of India stated that individual legislators cannot claim privilege and seek immunity under Articles 105 and 194 of the Constitution from prosecution for accepting bribes in connection with their vote or speech in the legislature. 
  • Previously, in 1998, a five-judge bench had held in the majority verdict on the Narasimha Rao versus CBI case that parliamentarians are immune from criminal prosecution for any speech made or vote cast inside the House under Articles 105(2) and 194(2) of the Constitution.

Article 105(2):

Article 105(2) protects MPs from legal action for their words and votes in Parliament or committee, and also protects the publication of parliamentary reports and proceedings.

Article 194(2):

Legislative members cannot be held liable for anything they say or vote on in the Legislature or any committee. Similarly, no person can be held liable for the publication of any report, paper, votes, or proceedings under the authority of the Legislature.

Parliamentary Privileges

Parliamentary privileges are special rights enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament and their members. Article 105 of the Indian Constitution defines certain privileges. Members are exempted from civil liability for statements made or acts done during their duties. The privileges are only applicable while the person is a member of the house

FAQ

Answer: Article 105

Answer: Supreme Court overruled the 1998 Narasimha Rao verdict
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