The apex court on Tuesday issued a statement that election candidates, after filing their nominations, should repeatedly make declarations in print and electronic media at the constituency level about any criminal records against them.
SC suggested that parliament enact laws to prevent corrupt criminals from becoming lawmakers on an urgent basis. Earlier, criminal cases of the candidates often used to remain encased in the election affidavit but with the current law, it would get the candidates and their parties to publicise pending criminal cases.
A Constitution bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said the “self-publicity” would help curb criminalisation of politics. The Supreme Court also called the criminalisation of politics a termite eating the walls of constitutional governance.
The Chief Justice said:
The country feels agonised when money and muscle power become the supreme power. Substantial efforts have to be undertaken to cleanse the polluted stream of politics by prohibiting people with criminal antecedents so that they do not even conceive of the idea of entering into politics.
Writing a 100-page unanimous judgment for the bench, CJI Misra said, “In a multi-party democracy, where members are elected on party lines and are subject to party discipline, we recommend to Parliament to bring out a strong law whereby it is mandatory for political parties to revoke membership of persons against whom charges are framed in heinous and grievous offences and not to set up such persons in elections, both for Parliament and state assemblies.
“This, in our attentive and plausible view, would go a long way in achieving decriminalisation of politics and usher in an era of immaculate, spotless, unsullied and virtuous constitutional democracy.
As per the recent reports, criminal cases of 542 Lok Sabha and 228 Rajya Sabha members were analysed and it was found that 33% of Lok Sabha members and 22% Rajya Sabha members were charged for some or other sort of criminal case. Out of which 21% (Lok Sabha) and 9% (Rajya Sabha) should face serious criminal charges.
Given the stats, the political state of the country is surely under a threat. And it is believed that enacting such law would cleanse the system.