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De-Criminalisation of Electoral Politics
Omkar Dattatray2/21/2020 10:42:23 PM
Politics in general is a dirty game but the elections in India are dirtier and murkier. The electoral politics in the country seems to be the last refuge of the scoundrel and it is the need of the hour to purge and cleanse the elections as a first priority. First two, three general elections in India after independence were clean and there were no or very few cases of criminal elements in these elections and baring very few cases of criminal cases the elections where free and clean. With the passage of the time when democracy became mature and dynamic, the criminalisation of politics became bane of our electoral democracy. In our multi-party system there is no political party which can claim to be free from criminal elements. In other words all political parties give tickets to candidates who have criminal antecedents and even have FIRs against them. Therefore all political parties have criminal elements and this is a cause of concern to the common man and there is need to curb the practice of giving party tickets to the candidates who have a criminal background. Therefore steps should be taken to cleanse the elections from criminal elements and in this good work all the people should co-operate with the government. Not that no steps were taken in the past to purge the electoral system and elections from the disease of criminalisation but the steps where not sufficient to have some effect on the elections. The former chief election commissioner late T.N. Seshen tried to cleanse electoral politics and elections from the menace of criminalisation and for this he is called pro-active election commissioners that this country had. The judiciary in India has also held that the elections are not a clean affair in the country and held that the elections should be cleaned from the menace of criminalisation. It was on 13th February that the apex court of the country has taken cognisance of the criminalisation of electoral politics and has given a decision of far-reaching importance with regard to the purging the elections from the criminal elements. It is so sad that candidates awaiting trial and those convicted are fielded as the candidates in the elections. The Supreme Court has asked the political parties to give information about the candidates in the official websites and in the press also so that it is clear that why the political parties have given mandidate to the criminal elements against the clean candidates. This decision of the top court will act as a brake to the bad practice of the political parties of fielding the candidates which criminal background and this is a good step of the court. The court has given its verdict and now it is the work of the executive to implement the decision of the court and this is the litmus test of the government. It is so bad that we have parliament members and state legislators with criminal antecedents and even murderers are in our august houses of parliament and state legislators and this is a serious issue and in such a situation where is the scope of a clean legislator and clean politics. There is no denying the fact that elections need finds and our businesses houses and private individuals provide funds to the political parties and thus one cannot differentiate between agog source of the fund and a bad. One way of ending the criminalisation of politics is the need of government funding of the elections and this step will go a long way to purge the political system from the disease of criminalisation along with this step there is need to spread information among the voters about the need to vote for the clean candidates and this is possible only through the medium of education and information. When the people themselves will stop to cast vote in favour of the tainted candidates and it will go to curb the practice of having the tainted candidates in our legislatures. It is a welcome development that the Supreme Court has made political parties accountable for fielding of the tainted candidates in the elections to parliament and state legislatures. The political parties have to upload the details of the candidates with criminal record through internet and also through print media. It has took the country so many long years to have such a historical verdict of the supreme court but as they say better late than never. Money and muscle power rules in the domain of the elections and there is urgent need to curb such practices in the elections. Corruption and use of money in the elections is a serious issue and the powers should take notice of the problem if they want fair and clean elections. The statistics in regard to the criminal elements is that in 2004 there were 24 percent of parliament members having criminal cases against them and it went to 30 percent in 2009 and the nit got upto34 percent in 2014 and again went to 43 percent in 2019. This trend of criminalisation of politics is threatening the very fabric of electoral democracy in the country. The court also said that the political parties must make known to the election commission the details of the criminal candidates who have won the elections within 72 hours and it also made it clear that the political parties should make known to the public about such candidate who have won the elections through press within 48 hours of the declaration of the result. Anyway the court decision is very significant and all comprehensive and covers all most all areas of the criminalisation of the electoral politics. Now there is need to implement the Supreme Court decision in total to get elections rid from criminal elements.
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