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Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

The Madras High Court has directed the Centre to explain in two weeks as to why it should not enact a law prohibiting people with criminal background from contesting in parliamentary, Assembly and local body elections.


  • The High Court issued the direction after taking note of media reports of “persons with criminal background becoming policy makers in many parts of the country.”
  • They said such practice “has to be prevented and the system has to be cleansed.”

The Current state of Criminal Cases and Legislators

  • The Bench pointed out that an analysis of the 2019 Lok Sabha election winners by Association for Democratic Reforms, a non-governmental organisation, revealed that 43% (233 out of 539 Members of Parliament) had declared criminal cases pending against them.
  • Further, 29% (159 MPs) of the legislators were facing serious criminal cases.
  • The Chennai HC expressed dismay over media reports of criminal elements in Puducherry having close connection and support of political parties and some of the Ministers and legislators being provided security by rowdy gangs.
  • The Judges asked the Director General of Police to submit the details of rowdy gangs active in Puducherry, and details regarding number of persons with criminal background accommodated as top office bearers and district secretaries of various political parties and the nature of cases booked against them.

What does the data represent?

  • According to an analysis of their self-sworn affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) – report said 229 of the 233 Rajya Sabha seats that represent the States and Union Territories showed that 54 MPs or 24% had declared criminal cases.
  • Out of the 229 MPs – 28 or 12% had declared serious criminal cases.
  • The ADR analysis found that 203 of the 229 MPs or 89% of those analysed had declared assets over Rs. 1crore.

Recently in news: Click Here to read more about the Supreme Court judgment on criminalisation in politics

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023