As Russian President Putin has made himself immune from prosecution for lifetime, let us look at the new provision and its implications.
Crux of the Matter
Permanent Immunity To Presidents
Russia President Vladimir Putin has signed new legislation that grants lifetime immunity to former presidents after they leave the post. It does so by making former Presidents members of the Senate for a lifetime.
What’s More To It?
- Also protects their families from prosecution for crimes of their entire lifetime.
- Exempted from police investigations and arrests.
- Previously, former Presidents were immune to prosecution only for the crimes done while in office.
- Immunity can now be revoked only in serious cases like treason and requires an overwhelming majority of the upper House, which has been called ‘impossible’ by analysts.
The new law is a part of constitutional amendments recently brought by Putin. One major Amendment allows Putin to continue as the President till 2036, who would have been otherwise required to leave in 2024.
One more Bill is awaiting Putin’s signature, which would make information of employees of “judicial system, law enforcement, and regulatory and military bodies” confidential. The move came 1 day after opposition leader Alexei Navalny claimed to have “tricked” an agent into admitting that the Government had tried to poison him.
Navalny, Putin’s staunchest critic, was poisoned in August allegedly by Russian agents. Navalny later revealed the agent’s number, which would now be illegal according to the new provision.
Immunity To President In India
- Article 361 of the Constitution says that the President “shall not be answerable to any court” for exercising “powers and duties of his office”.
- The President is also immune from criminal proceedings and arrests during his/her office.
- However, she/he is impeachable under Article 61, which has to be preferred by either House of the Parliament.
- A law, first adopted in 2012, allows Russian authorities to label foreign-funded NGOs engaged in political activity “foreign agents“, a term that carries negative Soviet-era connotations. Despite the backlash, the bill was passed in the upper house with an overwhelming majority.
- A duma is a Russian assembly with advisory or legislative functions. The term comes from the Russian verb ‘dumat’ meaning “to think” or “to consider”. Since 1993, the lower house has also been known as the state duma.
- Russian writer Sergei Kalenik began an online comic series in 2011 named “Superputin” – in which the Russian President saves his nation by judo-chopping terrorists. Putin is depicted as a superhero who fights the twin evils of public protest and terrorism.