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4,442 CASES PENDING AGAINST INDIA’S LEGISLATORS


Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • A report submitted in the Supreme Court has said there are a total 4,442 cases pending against legislators across the country.
  • The apex court had sought the amicus report on the basis of a petition highlighting the criminalisation of politics.
  • Recently the Supreme Court had taken a timely decision by agreeing to hear a plea from the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct political parties to not field candidates with criminal antecedents.

Details

  • Of the massive 4,442 cases pending against legislators – cases against sitting Members of Parliament and members of State legislatures was more than 2,500.
  • The cases were pending in various special courts exclusively set up to try criminal cases registered against politicians, it said.
  • The cases against the legislators include that of corruption, money laundering, damage to public property, defamation and cheating.
  • A large number of cases were for violation of Section 188 IPC for wilful disobedience and obstruction of orders promulgated by public servants.
  • There are more than 400 cases in respect of offences, which are punishable with imprisonment for life, out of which in 174 cases sitting MPs/ MLAs are accused.
  • The trial of more than 350 cases had been stayed by High Courts and the apex court.
  • A large number of cases were pending at the appearance stage and even non-bailable warrants (NBWs) issued by courts have not been executed.
  • As per the report, Uttar Pradesh tops the chart.

Way Forward

  1. Judicial pronouncements on making it difficult for criminal candidates to contest are necessary, only enhanced awareness and increased democratic participation could create the right conditions for the decriminalization of politics.
  2. There needs to be an increased and sincere monitoring the affidavits of candidates.
  3. Working with the Election Commission in monitoring compliance with the Supreme Court judgment to see if details of tainted candidates are promptly put up on their websites, and on their social media handles, along with proper reasons for giving them ticket.
  4. Voters also need to be vigilant about misuse of money, gifts and other inducements during elections.
  5. Voters also need to be wary of fake news, trolling, and fanciful claims.
  6. Discouraging political parties from fielding criminals as candidates
  7. Adequate security measures during elections
  8. Role of money in election should be lowered

-Source: The Hindu

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