oppn parties Criminals Will Continue To Be Lawmakers

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
oppn parties
Criminals Will Continue To Be Lawmakers

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Supreme Court has done the right thing by not barring netas who have serious criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections. For, although it is morally repugnant to have alleged criminals working as lawmakers, it is also not right for the courts to bar them in the absence of a law on the subject. The court has just said that these alleged criminals must declare in bold all charges pending against them in election affidavits and also advertise the fact by inserting paid advertisements in media.

Public opinion has to be generated to force parliament to enact a law that will bar netas who have cases on specific charges in any court of law. Since all parties depend on muscle power to win elections, no party will support such legislation. This is proved by the resistance to automatically disqualify netas from membership of parliament or assemblies from the date of conviction. The Congress and the BJP are both against it. It is a given fact that crime pays exponentially when netas support criminals. Hence, it is very difficult to smash the nexus between politicians and criminals.

Criminals have become an integral part of the Indian political system. The netas bestow patronage on them because they do all the dirty work for them. Some criminals work their way up the party hierarchy, or start their own parties, to contest elections and become lawmakers. Although these people maintain a clean record by never getting convicted, the whole world knows they are criminals, musclemen or bahubalis. Yet, given their importance in collecting funds, intimidating opponents and doing other sundry dirty work including organizing crowds at meetings, they have become indispensible to all parties.

The Supreme Court has done what was legally correct. The legislature must now do what is morally correct. For, the kind of people we allow to sit in our legislatures defines the kind of government we get, the kinds of law we make and the kind of political culture we develop. It is too much to expect the people to reject such candidates. They are too afraid to vote against them since they know that these criminals will hurt them for doing so. The best way is to have a law to bar them from contesting. But which party will do it? When they are trying to give concessions to convicted netas, it is unrealistic to expect them to bar alleged criminals. Hence, there is a need for building public opinion.