Day 9 – Q 5.What are your views on the numbers of incumbent legislators having serious criminal charges against them? What measures can be taken to ensure a cleaner legislature? Suggest.
5. What are your views on the numbers of incumbent legislators having serious criminal charges against them? What measures can be taken to ensure a cleaner legislature? Suggest.
उन विधायकों की संख्या पर आपके क्या विचार हैं जिनके खिलाफ गंभीर आपराधिक आरोप हैं? स्वच्छ विधायिका सुनिश्चित करने के लिए क्या उपाय किए जा सकते हैं? सुझाव दें।
Increasing trend of criminalization of politics have disrupted constitutional ethos at the root of our democratic form of government. Criminalization of politics refers to increased participation of criminals in electoral process.
Views against incumbent legislators having serious criminal charges:
- The latest report by election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms, of the 542 MPs in Lok Sabha, 179 or 33 per cent were found to have criminal cases against them. Of these, 114 or 21 per cent have been named in “serious” cases such as kidnapping, hate speech, and those of crimes against women. Also said 228 Rajya Sabha members, 51 or 22 per cent are implicated in criminal cases. Of these, 9 per cent have been charged with serious crimes. Same with MLAs, 4,083 sitting MLAs scattered across the country, 1,355 nearly a third have criminal cases pending against them
- People are agonised that money and muscle power have become the supreme power and decide the electoral outcomes.
- Person who enter public life and participate in law making should be above any kind of serious criminal allegation but with the present scenario, it might lead to situation where people might no longer have trust in the democratic system.
Reasons for criminalization of politics:
- Loopholes in electoral process and lack of powers to election commission of India to scrutinize and prevent criminal elements.
- Political Parties are biased towards candidates having money and muscle power because they believe that they can win elections compared to a clean candidate with no money.
- Lack of morals, values and poor ethics in Indian political setup. Also voters have accepted candidates with criminal backgrounds.
- People can be easily lured with money due to ignorance and lack of knowledge about their responsibility in the democratic setup.
- Indian laws do not ban individuals with a criminal background to contest the election and also the cases go on for years.
- Soft state: India is seen as a soft state where people do not have fear for laws and or for undergoing punishments, due to which there is no deterrence to indulge in criminal activities.
Measures taken to ensure a cleaner legislature:
By election commission of India:
- Contesting candidate will have to fill up the form provided by the Election Commission of India and he or she will have to state “in bold letters” about the criminal cases pending against the candidate.
- If a candidate is participating from the party, he/she is required to inform the party about the criminal cases pending against him/her, and that information shall be displayed in their website. Also that information should be circulated in newspapers and electronic media.
By Government of India:
- Section 8 of representation of people act (RPA), 1951 disqualifies a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years.
- Articles 102(1)(e) and 191(1)(e) of the Constitution allow parliament to make laws for disqualification and not protection and preservation of members.
By supreme court of India:
- Judgement in public interest foundation and union of India: issues directions to the election commission and the political parties to make the disclosure of the criminal antecedents of candidate contesting election.
- Supreme court left it to parliament to “cure the malignancy “of criminalization of politics by making a law
- None of the above (NOTA) is introduced by judiciary in 2003 to reject a person.
Election commission of India, Government of India, and public at large should come together to curb the menace of criminalization of politics. Maintaining the purity of legislature by proactive steps from all stake holders is must for the welfare of the society.