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    Maximum of 19 Members Lost Parliament Membership in 14th Lok Sabha, Total of 42 Since 1988

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    The disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha has brought attention to a law that has been used to remove 42 members from Parliament since 1988. The 14th Lok Sabha saw 19 lawmakers ousted in connection with the cash-for-query scam and cross-voting. The grounds for disqualification have included changing political allegiances, conduct unbecoming of a parliamentarian, and conviction by a court for crimes that carry a jail term of two years or more.

    Congress leader Gandhi, NCP leader Mohammad Faizal P P, and BSP leader Afzal Ansari were recently disqualified after their convictions by courts with jail terms of more than two years. The Representation of the People Act deals with automatic disqualification of MPs and state legislators upon conviction and sentencing for two years or more in a criminal case. Faizal’s disqualification was revoked after he obtained a stay over his conviction and sentence in an attempted murder case from the Kerala High Court. Gandhi has moved the Gujarat High Court to seek relief in the criminal defamation case involving the ‘Modi surname’ in which a Surat court had sentenced him to two years in jail.

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    The first disqualification of a Lok Sabha member after the anti-defection law was enacted in 1985 was that of Lalduhoma, a Congress member, who filed his nomination papers for the Mizoram Assembly elections as a candidate of the Mizo National Union, a party founded by him. The 14th Lok Sabha saw the most members expelled from the House – 10 for unbecoming conduct as a member, including accepting bribes for raising questions in Parliament, and nine for cross-voting during the Vote of Confidence sought by the UPA-I government in July 2008. Six members of BJP, two from BSP, and one each from Congress and RJD were expelled from Lok Sabha in 2005 over the ‘cash for query’ scam. One Rajya Sabha member from BSP was also expelled from the House.

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    The 10th Lok Sabha saw four members being disqualified from the House under the anti-defection law. The Rajya Sabha also has its share of disqualifications under the anti-defection law – Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (1989), Satyapal Malik (1989), Sharad Yadav (2017), and Ali Anwar (2017). Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren and Samajwadi Party member Jaya Bachchan were disqualified from the Rajya Sabha in 2001 and 2006, respectively, for holding an office of profit.

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