Nation
A person in jail cannot fight polls for legislative bodies, rules SC
In another path breaking verdict, the apex court ruled that only an ‘elector’ can contest the polls and he/she ceases the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police
 
A person, who is in jail or in police custody, cannot contest election to legislative bodies, the Supreme Court has held, bringing to an end an era of undertrial politicians fighting polls from behind bars. 
 
In another path breaking verdict to prevent criminal elements from entering Parliament and state assemblies, the apex court ruled that only an ‘elector’ can contest the polls and he/she ceases the right to cast vote due to confinement in prison or being in custody of police. 
 
The court, however, made it clear that disqualification would not be applicable to person subjected to preventive detention under any law. 
 
Referring to the Representation of Peoples’ Act, a bench of justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhayay said that the Act (Section 4 & 5) lays down the qualifications for membership of the House of the People and Legislative Assembly and one of the qualifications laid down is that he must be an elector. 
 
The bench said Section 62(5) of the Act says that no person shall vote at any election if he is confined in a prison, whether under a sentence of imprisonment or transportation or otherwise, or is in the lawful custody of the police. 
 
Reading Sections 4, 5 and 62(5) together, the apex court came to the conclusion that a person in jail or police custody cannot contest election. 
 
The court passed the order on an appeal filed by the Chief Election Commissioner and others challenging a Patna High Court order barring people in police custody to contest polls. 
 
“We do not find any infirmity in the findings of the high court in the impugned common order that a person who has no right to vote by virtue of the provisions of sub-section (5) of Section 62 of the 1951 Act is not an elector and is therefore not qualified to contest the election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a state,” the apex court said. 
 
The bench had also made it clear that MPs, MLAs and MLCs would stand disqualified on the date of conviction. 
 
Legal experts said the two verdicts will force political parties to make sure that candidates facing criminal charges are not fielded. 
 
The court had in its Thursday’s judgement held that Parliament exceeded its powers by enacting the provision (Section 8(4) of the Representation of Peoples Act) that gives a convicted lawmaker the power to remain in office on the ground that appeals have been filed and pending. 
 
The sub-section 8(4), which was struck down, said a lawmaker cannot be disqualified for three months from the conviction and if in that period he or she files an appeal against till its disposal by a higher court.
 

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US immigration bill: Some relief for Indian IT sector
Nomura believes the House not taking up the Senate immigration bill is a temporary reprieve for the Indian IT sector as: 1) in a larger comprehensive bill the high skilled visa related provisions could have slid through without much opposition, 2) the Skills Visa Act introduced in the House is likely to be considered
 
On Wednesday, the House Republican leaders in a closed door meeting decided not to put the Senate immigration bill (which has several damaging provisions for the Indian IT sector including ban on outplacement) to vote in the House. This stand is consistent with what the House Speaker had maintained ever since the immigration bill was approved in the Senate, said Nomura Equity Research in its Quick Note on the issue.
 
The House Republican leadership also decided that instead of a comprehensive immigration bill they are more in favour or a series of smaller bills addressing individual topics.
 
The Republicans’ disagreements with the Democrats on this bill are on: 1) border security so as to stop entry of illegal immigrants, and 2) path of citizenship to illegal immigrants, where Republicans themselves are divided, revealed Nomura. 
 
Republicans wants to first fix the problem of illegal immigration by sealing the borders, before any citizenship is granted. Democrats, on the other hand, want to enhance border security but in parallel start the process of citizenship for illegal immigrants while continuing to work on border security.
 
The individual draft bills covering various aspects of immigration are still not ready in the House, but this should become clearer over the next few weeks.
 
Nomura believes the House not taking up the Senate immigration bill is a temporary reprieve for the Indian IT sector as: 1) in a larger comprehensive bill the high skilled visa related provisions (which were damaging for Indian IT) could have slid through without much opposition, 2) the Skills Visa Act introduced in the House is likely to be considered.
 
This bill addresses the US high-skilled immigration program and is less damaging for Indian IT with only H1B and L1 salary increases and no mention of outplacement debarment (most damaging clause for Indian IT which was present in the Senate version), according to the brokerage.
 
The brokerage believes this development pushes the focus back on 1QFY14 results where the key focus would be on whether the rupee depreciation benefits margins. If so, it could offset impacts from a diluted immigration bill passing. Nomura’s view remains contrary to the Street—it does not expect material rupee depreciation benefits and believes the risks of a diluted bill are not getting priced in. Its target prices build in 50% impact of a bill without outplacement debarment passing. Nomura maintains Reduce on Infosys and TCS, and Buy on HCL Technologies, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation and Wipro.
 
Statement of the House Republican leadership on the Senate immigration bill:
“Today House Republicans affirmed that rather than take up the flawed legislation rushed through the Senate, House committees will continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system. The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced, and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy. But they don't trust a Democratic-controlled Washington, and they’re alarmed by the president’s ongoing insistence on enacting a single, massive, Obamacare-like bill rather than pursuing a step-by-step, common-sense approach to actually fix the problem. The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.”
 

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