Topic – Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
4) Criminalization of politics is a disease that will make our democracy hollow if left unchecked. Discuss the measures implemented to check criminalization of politics and the effectiveness of those measures?(250 words)
Why this question
The article discusses the issue of criminalization of politics, SC’s directive to provide status report of functioning of fast trial courts responsible for hearing criminal cases against legislators. This bring attention on the issue of criminalization of politics and hence this question.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to discuss why the issue of criminalization of politics is so important. Thereafter, we need highlight the steps suggested and those implemented to deal with this challenge and analyze how far have their helped in mitigating this challenge. Finally we need to provide a way forward.
Discuss – In your discussion you need to highlight the measures taken to check criminalization of politics and analyze how far those methods have helped in resolving the issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Give status quo of legislators with a chequered past to emphasize on the sensitivity of the issue. Discuss the impact on democracy as a result of this.
- Highlight the judgements of SC in this regard such as
- Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples’ Act, 1951 disqualifies a person conviced with a sentence of 2 or more years from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be leigible to contest elections. Lily Thomas case (2013) ended this advantage to criminals.
- Introduction of NOTA in PUCL vs Union of India, 2014
- Candidates need to mention criminal records if any, while filing nomination for elections.
- The Supreme Court asked the Law Commission of India to submit a report on framing of false charges and submission of false affidavits, which were accepted by it partially in 2014. highlight the LCI recommendation
- Examine how far these directives have helped in curbing criminalization of politics. Highlight the observation of LCI – practice of disqualification of contestants has done nothing to decriminalise Indian politics as the rates of conviction are too low and trials themselves are subject to long delays.
- Discuss the steps that need to be taken further still such as the one discussed in the article, social awareness, ECI recommendations like – debarring candidates facing serious criminal charges etc
Conclusion – Emphasize that this issue needs to be tackled to maintain the health of our democracy and discuss how to do it.