Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Indian court ruling bars convicted criminals from politics
People with sentences of more than two years can not take office
- Swati Deb, New Delhi
- July 11, 2013
Lawmakers convicted of serious crimes in India are to be barred from sitting in parliament or state assemblies, following a landmark ruling by the country’s Supreme Court yesterday.
The court struck down a provision in the Representation of the People Act 1951 that allows convicted lawmakers to remain in office if an appeal against their conviction is pending in higher courts.
The new ruling applies to federal and state legislators who have received sentences of two or more years.
"Disqualification takes place from the date of conviction,” a two-judge bench said in its ruling.
"If a convicted person has no right to vote, he has no right to contest," the ruling added.
The decision will apply to those convicted in the future and not to lawmakers who have already been convicted and have filed appeals.
Political parties have reacted cautiously. The law minister, Kapil Sibal, said the government will study the "impact of the judgment" before making any comment on it.
Observers say political parties may well challenge the ruling and request its referral to a larger Supreme Court bench for further scrutiny. There are fears that rivals could use the judgment to make false allegations against politicians to prevent them from contesting elections.
However, social activists and India’s Election Commission welcomed the verdict, with hopes that the ruling would help clean up Indian politics that has been plagued by a slew of corruption scandals.
“It is a move in the right direction," said Navin Chawla, a former chief election commissioner.
"There are 1,460 serving lawmakers across India facing criminal charges. Therefore, the Supreme Court ruling is a significant step and a milestone towards cleaning up Indian politics," Anil Bairwal, national coordinator of the election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms, told ucannews.com yesterday.
A recent joint study by National Election Watch and the Association of Democratic Reforms revealed that nearly 150 of the 543 current members of parliament have criminal cases pending against them, while a survey based on poll affidavits revealed that 15 MPs are facing at least one murder charge.