Supreme Court’s Vision to Clean Politics in India
Supreme Court of India says a Criminal cannot be Neta; has to resign and is barred from contesting in Elections
The Supreme Court of India has decided that any MP/MLA convicted of any criminal charge(s) and sentenced to more than 2 years of imprisonment will be immediately disqualified even if he/she files an appeal. In India where democracy is being abused with so many corrupt politicians in the Parliament this is a revolutionary judgement made by the Judiciary. This came as a shocker to the bhrasht-netas of our country who have been exploiting the nation’s wealth and going away with heinous crimes for the last 60 years. Contrary to the previous rule, they won’t be allowed to contest from jail which a lot have done so far. But one limitation is that this will not apply to the existing MPs/MLAs, who have been convicted and filed an appeal before June 10, 2013.
Previously the rule was anyone convicted would be disqualified and barred from contesting an election. But Section 8(4) of Representation of People Act made an exception for the exiting MPs/MLAs saying that if they file an appeal in higher court within 3 months, they won’t be disqualified. The Supreme Court found this against the spirit of the Constitution for giving special treatment to the MPs/MLAs.
If you think the number of netajis who will be concerned by this decision is small then look at the stats below:
- In the present Parliament, 162 of 543 members have criminal charges pending against them ranging from murder, kidnapping, rape and extortion.
- Out of 4807 sitting MPs & MLAs, 1460 have criminal cases against them
- 21% of Congress MPs/MLAs ;
- 31% of Bhartiya Janta Party;
- 48% of Samajwadi Party;
- 64% of Rashtriya Janata Dal (including Lalu Prasad Yadav);
- 82% of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha are charged of some crimes or the other.
- That is One-Third of politicians have official criminal records registered against them (Unofficially it may be higher!)
The happiest person in this world seems to be Arvind Kejriwal after this landmark decision. He said that this will help up in cleaning politics in India and the parties will think twice before giving tickets to criminals.
Now here comes the twist…
The new law will affect only those who are convicted and not charged. Going by the Dictionary definition, when a person is charged with a crime, a formal allegation (a statement not yet proven) of an offense is made. Once convicted, the person has been proven or declared guilty of the offense.
The number of netas convicted till now is very very small compared to the number charged. So shouldn’t the law be for the charged and not just convicted. Let me remind you that India is a country where the judicial process runs at a snail’s pace. Take our dear Lalu Prasad Yadav for example. His involvement in the Rupees 900 crore Fodder Scam surfaced in 1996 but the case is still pending with Laluji being in and out of jail many times. With a clear distinction made between criminal charges and conviction people like Lalu Prasad and A.Raja from 2G Scam may get tickets to contest Election and continue to play dirty politics.
In spite of this, we can say this is just a beginning to clean up politics in our nation and ensure the respect of democracy. The next thing to look forward to is formation of fast-track courts which will not delay the time between charges and conviction. At present it takes something from a decade to infinity for the courts to give judgement. In the meantime, our netas get to chill out and loot this country. As Harish Salve pointed out in an IBN discussion, India needs more judges and determined lawmakers. We need fast-track courts for crime against women, crime against children, murder and every other thing…
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