A three-judge bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogai has referred a question to the larger constitution bench of Supreme Court on Thursday, seventh march 2019. The question is ‘can a legislator who receives a bribe for the vote in legislature claim immunity under article 105 and 194((2) of Indian constitution. The bench raised the question when the bench was dealing with Seta Soren’s appeal against Jharkhand High Court’s order, which held that she could not claim Immunity.
The bench also comprising of justice S. Abdul Nazeer and justice Sanjiv Khanna said that having regard to the ‘wide ramification of question that has arisen, the doubts raised and the issue being a matter of substantial public importance’ the matter deserves to be considered by a larger bench.
The same issue was also raised in case of P.V.Narshima Rao vs State; a five-judge bench of Supreme Court answered this question. The majority held that Member of Parliament who voted on the no-confidence motion by taking bribe are entitled to the immunity from criminal prosecution under article 105 of the constitution. On the other hand, the two other judges had held that the immunity granted U/A 105 cannot extend to the cases where the member is alleged for taking a bribe to cast vote.
JHARKHAND HC View in SITA SOREN’S CASE
In this case, Sita Soren has been alleged for receiving bribe form one MLA R.K Agarwal, to caste vote in favour of him. According to him, she cannot be prosecuted criminally as per the provision contained under article 194(2) of the Constitution of India.
By referring the judgment of Narasimha Rao, the bench said that in this judgement the majority had only held that the act of receiving money pursuant to conspiracy and the agreement, if the vote is not caste in favour of the person from whom money was received, then casting of vote will have no nexus with the alleged act of receiving money.
Finally the bench dismissed the plea and had held that the agreement between the petitioner and the MLA, regarding the casting of vote by receiving money will have no nexus with the vote because the petitioner did not caste vote in favour of the said R.K. Agarwal and therefore she will have no immunity as guaranteed under article 194(2) of the Indian constitution.