Criminalisation of Politics

Criminalisation of Politics

Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) Study

  • Percentage of Members of Lok Sabha with Criminal Charges is increasing each passing Lok Sabha since independence.
17th Lok Sabha (2019) 43%
16th Lok Sabha  (2014) 34%
14th Lok Sabha (2004) 24%
  • Chances of winning of candidate with criminal cases in Lok Sabha is 13% whereas with clean record is 5%

NN Vohra Committee Report (1993)

  • Spoke about criminalization of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India.

Reasons for Criminalisation of Politics

Increasing Money Power in Elections Elections require huge expenditure which is impossible for normal person to fund.    
Winnability only criteria Parties focus on winnability of the candidate instead of education, morals and social work  
Loopholes in functioning Voters are not usually aware of the history of the candidate, qualification and cases pending against him. 
Weak judicial system 3.2 crore pendency => takes long time to decide cases and as a result, criminals sit in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies  
Historical Reason Indira Gandhi’s 1969 decision to ban corporate donations to political parties led to crime-politics nexus. That action made campaigning dependent on black money
Crisis of morality In materialistic society

Impact of Criminalisation of Politics

Decreasing legitimacy of Parliament  
Increased Disruptions People with such tainted backgrounds have been seen to disrupt the functioning of the Parliament  
Funds not used for intended purposes Such member under utilise funds like MPLADs
Impact on Police Padmanabhaiah Committee on Police Reforms : It is the criminalization of politics that led to criminalisation of police  
Views of various Committees NN Vohra Committee => Criminalisation of Politics is making democracy hollow.

Reforms taken

  • Lily Thomas Case : Already discussed (Click here to see)
  • Association of Democratic Reforms Case : Supreme Court ordered Mandatory declaration of assets and existing criminal charges in self-sworn affidavits to the Election Commission of India prior to elections
  • NOTA Button introduced to force political parties to put up better candidates .
  • Expense Monitoring Cell setup by Election Commission of India

Way forward

  • Bar candidates against whom charges have been framed by the court in heinous crimes from contesting elections
  • Lifetime ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections (as suggested by Election Commission of India in Nov 2018)
  • Set up fast track courts to dispose criminal cases pending against MPs & MLAs within a year.
  • State Funding of elections => Black money will not be needed
  • Make informed citizenry using Election Commission of India campaigns and utilising efforts of NGOs like ADR, PUCL etc 

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