Media outlets express concerns about SC judgment on disqualification of politicians facing criminal charges

Media outlets across the country took to express their views on the Supreme Court's decision and discuss the realistic possibility of successfully implementing it.

FP Staff September 26, 2018 16:43:18 IST
Media outlets express concerns about SC judgment on disqualification of politicians facing criminal charges

The Supreme Court on Tuesday left the matter of disqualification of politicians carrying criminal charges against them to the Parliament, saying that the court cannot add to the grounds of disqualification. However, the apex court handed out directions for curbing criminalisation of politics, including asking candidates contesting elections to declare their criminal antecedents.

Media outlets express concerns about SC judgment on disqualification of politicians facing criminal charges

File image of the Supreme Court of India. AP

The court also directed the Parliament to make a law to ensure that candidates with criminal records don’t enter public life and take part in lawmaking.

Media outlets across the country took to express their views on the apex court's decision and discuss the realistic possibility of successfully implementing it.

The Hindustan Times argued that the court was correct in deferring to Parliament’s authority over this issue. However, the paper noted the irony that the court has asked a body comprising some of the country’s foremost lawbreakers to make the very laws which would regulate their behaviour. It said that the chances of success are quite low without a combination of sustained social pressure and intense judicial scrutiny.

Underscoring the opinion that implementing the apex court's ruling may be difficult, The Times of India said that where the court is looking to curb criminalisation in politics, political parties are, in fact, recruiting candidates with criminal associations to contest elections, because such candidates have a wealth advantage that gives them a leg up in financing — and winning — increasingly competitive elections.

The Indian Express said that the Representation of the People Act (RPA) states that an individual punished with a jail term of more than two years cannot stand in an election for six years after the jail term has ended. The paper then pointed out the fact that cases drag on in courts for years, which makes this provision virtually ineffective. It even cited a 2014 report of the Law Commission, which pointed out that “disqualification upon conviction has proved to be incapable of curbing the growing criminalisation of politics, owing to long delays in trials and rare convictions.”

An affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court in March by the Centre also testifies to the shortcomings of the RPA’s disqualification clause: There are more than 3,800 criminal cases against 1,765 MPs and MLAs across the country, of which 3,045 cases are pending, the affidavit noted.

The Times of India added that qualifying at the inconclusive stage of framing charges will lead to bias and political witch hunts. Referring to the proposed suggestions as "half-baked",  the paper said that disqualifying those charged by courts as sought by the petitioners is not the answer. Instead, fast-tracking cases against politicians is the best solution, according to the report. Specifically, fast-tracking the serious cases to conviction, acquittal, discharge or closure will clean up the Augean stables, The Times of India said.

Updated Date:

also read

Explained: Eknath Shinde’s pleas before the Supreme Court and what the judges said
Politics

Explained: Eknath Shinde’s pleas before the Supreme Court and what the judges said

Eknath Shinde challenged the disqualification notices sent to him and 15 other Shiv Sena MLAs before the top court. The breakaway group has now got until 11 July to respond

‘Cruelty is the point’: Megan Rapinoe, other athletes slam US Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade
Sports

‘Cruelty is the point’: Megan Rapinoe, other athletes slam US Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade

The always outspoken Rapinoe was joined by some of the country's leading sports figures in publicly sharing their dismay, anger and concern after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

As US Supreme Court scraps Roe vs Wade, a look at how abortion laws have evolved in India
India

As US Supreme Court scraps Roe vs Wade, a look at how abortion laws have evolved in India

As the United States Supreme Court ends 50 years of federal abortion rights by overturning the landmark Roe vs Wade verdict, we go back to 1972 when India’s abortion law came into force