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SC leaves it to Parliament to frame law to bar criminal politicians from contesting polls



SC leaves it to Parliament to frame law to bar criminal politicians from contesting polls

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that it cannot disqualify candidates with criminal cases against them from contesting elections and urged the Parliament to enact a law to ensure that people with serious criminal charges do not enter public life.

A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and also comprising Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, said the time had come for a law against criminalisation of politics. The “nation eagerly waits for such legislation”.

The apex court said that the country was facing an increasing trend of criminalisation of politics and that it strikes at the very root of democracy.

The SC bench, however, issues directives to check criminalisation.

It directed that all candidates must state, in bold, details of criminal cases pending against them in their election affidavit. Candidates must also share this information with their respective political parties, which will in turn upload this on their websites.

Parties should also issue a declaration on the criminal antecedents of their candidates in a widely circulated publication, said the SC bench. It said this should be done at least three times after filing of nomination papers.

To facilitate this transparency by parties, candidates should first give complete information about their criminal past or pending cases to the parties on whose ticket they intend to contest elections, stated the judgment.

This is to ensure that the ordinary voter can have an “informed choice” about who (s)he has to vote for in a country “tired of money and muscle power,” said the court.

The direction to compel political parties to go public about their “criminal” candidates is a step to “foster and nurture an informed citizenry” and to protect the “culture and purity in politics.”

The court said criminal politicians are nothing but a liability to this country. Their presence in power strikes at the roots of democracy. Criminalisation of politics and corruption, especially at the entry level of elections, has become a national and economic terror. It is a disease which is self-destructive and becoming immune to antibiotics, opined the court.

“There is a steady increase in the level of criminality creeping into politics,” the court observed. Parties need to come clean about the criminal elements within their apparatus.

Chief Justice Misra, who authored the verdict for the Bench, directed “each contesting candidate,” whether he or she belongs to a party or not, to fill up all the required information in the forms to be submitted to the Election Commission of India before an election.

The Bench, however, made it clear that the Supreme Court cannot legislate for Parliament and add a disqualification that candidates charged with heinous crimes should be banned from contesting elections.

The chief justice added that the court was “not in a position to add disqualification of candidates on filing of chargesheet in criminal cases.”

The Court urged Parliament to consider such a disqualification, saying the nation eagerly awaits its decision. It noted that the Election Commission of India has its hands tied, watching on as criminalisation of politics at the entry level is on the rise.

“It is the duty of parliament to keep money and muzzle power at bay. Parliament should cure the malignancy and it is not incurable before it becomes fatal to democracy,” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said.

The SC said “time has come for the Parliament to act” and empower the poll body. “The court declares the law, the Parliament makes the law,” Justice Nariman had observed.

Chief Justice Misra had pointed out that Parliament was obliged under Article 102 (1) (e) to make a law. “As conscience-keepers of the Constitution, we [Supreme Court] can ask you [Parliament] to do it,” he stated.

False cases foisted upon politicians

During arguments, Attorney General KK Venugopal, representing the centre, had said that denying a person the right to contest polls on a party ticket would amount to denying them the right to vote, which includes the right to contest. “Mere allegation cannot prevent a member from contesting.”

The court, he asserted, can’t remain oblivious of the fact that political aspirants are often framed in cases ahead of polls and said that fast-track courts to try accused politicians were “the only solution”.

The petitioners pointed out that trials in cases involving politicians were deliberately delayed, and therefore, several lawbreakers entered the legislature and become lawmakers.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, “It is one thing to take cover under the presumption of innocence, but it is another to allow politics to be smeared by criminal stain.” The court said Parliament should also consider the issue of false cases foisted upon politicians.

Under the Representation of the People Act, convicted lawmakers are disqualified from contesting elections, but not accused ones.

The bench was hearing a batch of petitions seeking disqualification of chargesheeted lawmakers from contesting elections. The petitions were filed by NGO Public Interest Foundation and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. The bench had reserved its verdict in the case on August 28.

In an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court in March this year, the Centre said a total of 3,816 criminal cases were registered against 1,765 MPs and MLAs across the country, of which 3,045 cases are pending. The figures did not include cases registered in Maharashtra and Goa. Uttar Pradesh leads the pack with 565 cases against 248 MPs and MLAs, followed by Kerala with 533 cases against 114 legislators. Tamil Nadu is third on the list with 402 cases against 178 MPs and MLAs, of which 324 are pending.

India News

Sankalp Saptaah: PM Modi today launches week-long initiative for aspirational blocks at Bharat Mandapam

The country’s Sankalp Saptah programme, which is being implemented in 500 aspirational blocks throughout 329 districts, seeks to increase block-level government while also improving civilian quality of life.



Sankalp Saptaah

At Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced a week-long project named Sankalp Saptaah for the country’s aspirational groups.

He also conversed with attendees, including members from the panchayat and the block level.

The week-long programme, which is described in an official news release, is closely correlated with the national Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP), which Modi introduced in January of this year.

The country’s Sankalp Saptah programme, which is being implemented in 500 aspirational blocks throughout 329 districts, seeks to increase block-level government while also improving civilian quality of life.

Chintan Shivirs were held nationwide at the village and block levels to help with the effective execution of the ABP and to create strong block development strategies. The result of these careful considerations, which will be seen in each of the 500 aspirational blocks, is Sankalp Saptaah.

On October 9, the final day of the seven-day event, a celebration of the week’s worth of effort will take place under the banner of Sankalp Saptaah – Samavesh Samaroh.

Speaking at the inaugural function, the prime minister claimed that more than 25 crore people’s lives in 112 districts throughout the nation had been improved by the aspirational districts plan. He asserted that the quality of living had changed. Now, the aspirational blocks programme will be built on the success of the aspirational districts programme, he said.

According to the statement, about 3,000 panchayat and block level functionaries and representatives of the people are expected to attend the inaugural event at Bharat Mandapam, in addition to about two lakh farmers, block and panchayat level functionaries, and people from other walks of life who will participate virtually.

Starting on October 3 and running through October 9, each day of Sankalp Saptaah is devoted to a distinct development subject on which all aspirational blocks will focus. Sampoorna Swasthya, Suposhit Pariwaar, Swachhta, Krishi, Shiksha, and Samridhi Diwas are some of the themes for the first six days, according to the statement.

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India News

Madhya Pradesh elections: Congress to release first list of candidates after October 5

According to the source, the party has received more than 3,500 inquiries from potential candidates who wish to run for office on the Congress ticket in the Assembly elections.



Madhya Pradesh elections

As the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections draw nearer, sources stated on Friday that the Congress is expected to reveal its first list of candidates after October 5 as part of its strategy. A Congress source told IANS that the party will announce the names of the candidates at the ideal moment and that the campaigning for the Assembly elections is already underway.

The source stated that the party would issue its initial list of candidates after October 5, when it is anticipated that the Election Commission will have released its polling schedule.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party’s general secretary, will be in the state on October 5 to speak at a large public gathering, the source added, and her input will be sought before the release of the final list.

To narrow down the field of candidates for the elections, the party organised two sessions of the Screening Committee in the national capital.

According to the source, the party has received more than 3,500 inquiries from potential candidates who wish to run for office on the Congress ticket in the Assembly elections.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, will speak at a public meeting on Saturday in the Kala Pipla Assembly seat.

Two lists of candidates from the BJP have already been made public for the upcoming elections. Along with four other current MPs, the ruling party has included three Union Ministers in its second list. On Monday, a few hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at a public gathering in Bhopal, the second list of 39 candidates was made public.

The list also included Kailash Vijayvargiya, the national general secretary of the BJP.

The list includes the names of three Union Ministers: Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti from Narsinghpur; Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Chairman of the Party’s State Election Management Committee from Dimni-Morena; and Fagan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel from Niwas.

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India News

President Droupadi Murmu gives assent to Women’s Reservation Bill

The new law provides 33% reservation of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.



President Droupadi Murmu gives assent to Women’s Reservation Bill

The Women’s Reservation Bill became law in India after President Droupadi Murmu gave her assent, days after the historic vote in the Parliament. The new law provides 33% reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. However, the law will be imposed after the new census and delimitation. 

The Women’s Reservation Bill which is officially known as Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam was passed in both the houses during the special session of the Parliament. The historic bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on September 20, with 454 MPs voting in its favour and 2 voting against it. In the Rajya Sabha, the bill was passed unanimously on September 21 with 214 MPs voting in favour of the bill.  

Issuing a gazette notification, the Government of India stated that the Bill has become an Act after the approval granted by the President. The notification read that the act will come into force on such date as the central government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. 

While supporting the historic bill in the Parliament, the Opposition condemned the government for not bringing the quota for women into immediate effect. Union Home Minister Amit Shah told the Parliament during the bill’s discussion that it could only come into effect after 2029 due to the pending census and delimitation.

A day after the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarked that with the passage of the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam in Parliament, the nation usher in an era of stronger representation and empowerment for the women of India. He added that this is not merely legislation but a tribute to the countless women who have made the nation. He exclaimed that India has been enriched by their resilience and contributions. 

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