The relief to Sidhu removed the legal hurdle to the former cricketer’s renomination from the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat.
Had the conviction not been stayed, the three-year jail term imposed by Punjab and Haryana High Court would have kept Sidhu out of the fray.
Moments after the Supreme Court ruling came today — two days before the deadline to file nominations — BJP president Rajnath Singh announced Sidhu’s candidature from Amritsar.
The significance of the stay goes far beyond the candidature of a cricketer-turned-politician known for his machine-gun mouth. This is the first case in 57 years where a conviction has been stayed till the apex court rules on an appeal against a lower court verdict.
Usually, when an appeal is admitted, the Supreme Court stays the execution of the sentence — the punishment — not the conviction itself.
That means the accused need not go to prison till the apex court rules on the appeal. Legally, however, the accused remains a convict and the law that debars candidates apply to them.
Those who have to serve over two years cannot fight elections for six years after release from jail. However, if conviction comes after the election, the House membership can be retained till the expiry of the term or the final decision on the appeal that has to be filed in three months.
I'm mystified by this Sidhu decision. This report from The Telegraph tells it better than others as to what the it means for him:
So this first-in-57 years decision just so that he could contest? What if the conviction is upheld in the SC? Sidhu resigned after being docked for 3 years - that is the 'high standard'? Since when did Soren become the yardstick for political morals?