The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Centre and the Election Commission to respond to a Public Interest Litigation plea asking the court to bar politicians convicted in criminal cases from forming political parties and holding positions in them, PTI reported.

The plea before the apex court was filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is demanding a lifetime ban on convicted politicians with the aim of decriminalising politics. His lawyers argued that if such politicians are disqualified from contesting elections, they should also not be allowed to head parties.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud passed the order, Live Law reported. It will also examine the demand to stop such politicians from holding posts in the party.

In November, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court that it favoured banning politicians convicted of serious crimes from contesting elections for the rest of their lives. At present, politicians convicted of crimes that carry a prison term of more than two years cannot contest elections for six years after they leave prison.