Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who was disqualified as an MP from Lok Sabha on Friday, joined an inglorious list of MPs and MLAs, including his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who faced similar action in the past.
The disqualification law, under the Representation of the People Act, states that an MP or MLA, sentenced to two years of imprisonment or more, would be disqualified and remain disqualified for six years after serving time. The list of other MPs and MLAs, who lost the status of a people’s representative after being similarly convicted, also includes RJD veteran Lalu Prasad Yadav; late AIADMK leader for former Tamil Nadu chief minister, J Jayalalithaa; and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, among others.
The following is a jog-back to the events leading to the disqualification of some prominent political leaders as people’s representatives:
1. Indira Gandhi:
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi faced an adverse court verdict and was debarred from holding any elected post for six years following her conviction by the Allahabad High Court in June, 1975. The verdict is widely believed to have led to the imposition of the Emergency.
2. Lalu Prasad Yadav:
The Rashtriya Janata Dal Supremo and the former Bihar chief minister was disqualified as an MP from Bihar’s Saran after he was convicted in the fodder scam in September 2013.
3. Azam Khan:
Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan was disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in October 2022 after being sentenced to three years in jail in a hate speech case. He was elected MLA from the Rampur Sadar constituency, which the BJP wrested in the bypoll last year.
4. J Jayalalithaa:
AIADMK supremo and former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa was disqualified from the Assembly after she was sentenced to four years in jail in September 2014 in a disproportionate assets case. Jayalalithaa, or ‘Amma’ as she was affectionately known to her supporters, was the chief minister when she was disqualified. She had to step down as CM in the wake of her disqualification.
5. Vikram Singh Saini:
BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini was disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in October 2022 following his conviction in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots case. Saini, who was an MLA from Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, was sentenced to two years in jail.
6. Anil Kumar Sahni:
RJD MLA Anil Kumar Sahni was disqualified from the Bihar Assembly in October 2022 after being convicted in a forgery case. He was sentenced to three years in jail. He was an MLA from the Kurhani Assembly constituency.
7. Kuldeep Singh Sengar:
Kuldeep Singh Sengar, a former BJP MLA, was disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in February 2020, following his conviction in a rape case. The party expelled him in 2019. He was elected from the Bangarmau Assembly constituency in Unnao.
8. Abdullah Azam Khan:
Samajwadi Party MLA and Azam Khan’s son, Abdullah Azam Khan, was disqualified from the Uttar Pradesh Assembly in February 2023. The disqualification followed his conviction in a 15-year-old case and was sentenced to two-year imprisonment.
9. Pradeep Chaudhary:
Congress MLA Pradeep Chaudhary was disqualified from the Haryana Assembly in January 2021 after being convicted in an assault case.
10. Anant Singh:
RJD MLA Anant Singh was disqualified from the Bihar Assembly in July last year. The disqualification followed his conviction in a case pertaining to the recovery of arms from his house.