SC seeks Parliament act on criminalisation of politics

Expressing its severe crisis over decriminalization of politics in the country, the Supreme Court today expressed its inability to debar them such candidates from contesting in the elections. It seeks Parliament to make a law to ensure that those facing serious criminal cases do not become lawmakers by contesting in assembly or parliamentary electrons.

It deplores that Indian democracy has seen a steady increase in criminalisation of politics. However, issuing a slew of directions for curbing criminalisation of politics, a five-judge Constitution headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra,  said candidates contesting must mention in bold letters their criminal antecedents in the nomination affidavit.

Political parties must put up criminal antecedents of their candidates on their websites, in the local media, both print and electronic, after they file nomination to contest the elections, it added.

The bench, also comprising Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, asked candidates and political parties to give wide publicity on criminal cases pending against the candidates in the local media, both print and electronic, after they file nomination to contest elections. Political parties must put up criminal antecedents of their candidates on their websites, the court said.

Refusing to order disqualification for candidates facing heinous criminal cases, the top court said that it cannot cross the Laxman Rekha.  The bench was hearing the PILs filed by NGO ‘Public Interest Foundation’ and BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay raising a question whether lawmakers facing criminal trial can be disqualified from contesting elections at the stage of framing of charges against them. Presently, lawmakers are barred under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act from contesting elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.

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