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September 27, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm


What is meant by Criminalization of Politics?

It refers to the infiltration of criminals, lawbreakers, and corrupt individuals into the political system, who then use their power and influence to further their own interests at the cost of the country and its citizens.

Roots of this problem

The roots of this problem can be traced back to the post-independence era when the country was struggling to establish its democracy.

The political environment was highly charged, and political parties were desperate to gain an edge over their opponents. In this highly competitive environment, many politicians turned to criminal elements to help them win elections. This marked the beginning of the criminalization of politics in India.

Consequences of Criminalisation of Politics

Impact on law and order: Criminal politicians use their influence to protect themselves and their associates, leading to a breakdown in the justice system.

Corruption: Politicians with criminal backgrounds are more likely to be involved in corrupt activities, such as taking bribes and embezzling public funds.

Deterioration in the quality of governance: Politicians with criminal backgrounds are often more concerned with furthering their own interests rather than serving the public. This has led to a lack of accountability, inefficiency, and poor decision-making, which has had a negative impact on the country’s development.

Significant Judgements against Criminalisation of Politics

Here are some of the significant ones:

Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India (2019):

In this case, the Supreme Court of India ordered political parties to publish the criminal records of their candidates on their websites, social media handles, and newspapers.

Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2013):

In this case, the Supreme Court of India declared that any member of parliament or state legislative assembly who is convicted of a crime and sentenced to a prison term of two years or more would be disqualified from holding office.

Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India (2002):

In this case, the Supreme Court of India directed the Election Commission of India to issue guidelines to ensure that candidates with criminal records were not given tickets to contest elections by political parties.

Manoj Narula v. Union of India (2014):

In this case, the Delhi High Court held that a person cannot be disqualified from contesting elections merely because they have been charged with a criminal offense.

State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain (1975):

In this case, the Supreme Court of India held that citizens have a fundamental right to know the antecedents of their representatives. The court directed that election affidavits should contain information on candidates’ assets, liabilities, educational qualifications, and criminal records.

In People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India (2013)

In this case the SC recognised negative voting as a constitutional right of a voter and directed the Government to provide the ‘NOTA’ option in electronic voting machines.

Why in News:

Over 860 serious charges pending against 194 MPs before polls

Last week, the women’s reservation Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament. During the parliamentary debates before the passage of the Bill, several MPs voiced concern about the fact that many members have serious cases of crimes against women pending against them.

What constitutes a serious criminal case?

Serious criminal cases include non-bailable offences, murder, kidnapping, prevention of corruption, rape and other crimes against women.

Some MPs named or made veiled references to MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, former president of the Wrestling Federation of India, who is facing sexual harassment allegations from women wrestlers.

According to the Association of Democratic Reforms’ analysis of 763 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs, 306 had criminal cases (40%) and 194 (25%) had serious criminal cases pending against them.

Rules governing disqualification on grounds of criminal charges


September 27, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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