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New Delhi:
The Supreme Court today pronounced its verdict on whether Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) are immune from prosecution for accepting bribes in exchange for making a speech or casting a vote in the legislature.

Here are the Supreme Court’s top quotes:

  1. We disagree with the judgment in the 1998 PV Narasimha Rao case. The judgment in that case which granted immunity to legislators for taking bribes to cast votes has wide ramifications.

  2. Such a claim for immunity fails to fulfill the test of whether such immunity is necessary to discharge legislative functions.

  3. Bribery is not rendered immune under Article 105 or 194 because a legislator indulging in bribery commits a criminal act that is not essential for the function of casting a vote or giving a speech.

  4. The offence of bribery does not depend on whether the vote or speech is given later. The offence is complete at the point in time when the legislator accepts a bribe.

  5. Bribery isn’t protected by parliamentary privileges.

  6. The interpretation of the 1998 verdict is contrary to the Constitution’s Articles 105 and 194.

  7. The purpose and object of legislative privileges must be borne in mind. Privileges are for the house collectively. Articles 105/194 seek to create a fearless environment for the members.

  8. Corruption and bribery by legislators destroy the functioning of Indian Parliamentary democracy.

  9. The PV Narasimha Rao judgment results in a paradoxical situation where a legislator who accepts a bribe and votes accordingly is protected, whereas a legislator who, despite taking a bribe, votes independently is prosecuted.

  10. MLA taking a bribe to vote in Rajya Sabha elections is also liable under the Prevention of Corruption Act.


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