The Supreme Court on Tuesday will pronounce its verdict on a batch of petitions seeking the disqualification of lawmakers facing criminal charges from contesting elections. On August 28, the Supreme Court had reserved its verdict in the matter.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra will rule on petitions filed by various parties, including NGO Public Interest Foundation, represented by Dinesh Dwivedi. The NGO’s plea claimed there were 34% legislators with criminal background in 2014 and it was quite impossible that Parliament would introduce any law to stop the “criminalisation of politics”. Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay has also filed a plea demanding a lifetime ban on convicted politicians with the aim of decriminalising politics.

Under the Representation of the People Act, convicted lawmakers are disqualified, not the ones facing charges.

In August, Attorney General KK Venugopal, who appeared for the Centre, told the court that a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty, and added that the court cannot restrict a person’s right to vote, which also includes his right to contest. “The intention of the lordships is laudable,” Venugopal told the bench. “But the question is whether the court can do it [cleanse the political system by creating a law]. The answer is ‘no’.”

The bench had earlier observed that the Supreme Court cannot legislate for Parliament. “We can’t make a law or do something indirectly what we can’t do directly,” CJI Misra had said in August. “We will only see if we can do anything on disclosure [of criminal antecedents]. We will see if we can add to the disclosure so that people make a well-informed choice at polling booth. Let people judge.”

The court had asked if the Election Commission can form a rule to make political parties announce the candidate’s criminal past before elections to ensure the public can make an informed choice.