SC ends immunity for legislators taking bribes

The Supreme Court of India declared that parliamentary privilege or immunity will not protect legislators who take bribes to vote or speak in Parliament or State Legislative Assemblies from criminal prosecution.

The unanimous verdict overruled a 25-year-old majority view of the Supreme Court laid down in the JMM bribery case judgment of 1998.

Earlier in the JMM bribery case judgment the SC ruled that lawmakers who took bribes were immune from prosecution for corruption if they go ahead and vote or speak in the House as agreed.

The Chief Justice of India reasoned that the freedom of speech and expression, which include voting in the House, and attendant immunities granted to legislators under Articles 105 and 194 did not extend to giving or taking bribes.

The reference came in an appeal filed by JMM leader Sita Soren, who was accused of taking a bribe to vote for a particular candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections of 2012.