Supreme Court updates: Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, will govt take action against criminal netas?

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Supreme Court updates: Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, will govt take action against criminal netas?
  • 13:16 (IST)

    Guidelines in Supreme Court order about informing the electorate

    • SC directed that each candidate shall declare his/her criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting an election
    • Political parties shall be obligated to put all information about their candidates on their websites.
    • SC also directs wider publicity, through print and electronic media, antecedents of candidates affiliated to political parties.
    • SC asks legislature to consider framing law to ensure decriminalisation of politics.

  • 13:11 (IST)

    Criminalisation in politics termite to the citadel of democracy, says Supreme Court 

    Thus analysed, the directions to the Election Commission as sought by the petitioners runs counter to what has been stated hereinabove. Though criminalisation in politics is a bitter manifest truth, which is a termite to the citadel of democracy, be that as it may, the Court cannot make the law. Directions to the Election Commission, of the nature as sought in the case at hand, may in an idealist world seem to be, at a cursory glance, an antidote to the malignancy of criminalization in politics but such directions, on a closer scrutiny, clearly reveal that it is not constitutionally permissible. 
     

  • 13:04 (IST)

    SC refuses to disqualify tainted MLAs, MPs but order lays emphasis on informing the electorate 


    Even as Supreme Court refused to disqualify tainted MPs, MLAs from holding public office, its order sought to lay emphasis on informing the electorate about the candidates they vote for. The apex court, in its order, laid down several guidelines to ensure more transparency about the criminal cases against MPs and MLAs. 

  • 12:59 (IST)

    SC urges lawmakers to take efforts 'cleanse the polluted stream of politics' 

    "A time has come that the Parliament must make law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter into the political stream. It is one thing to take cover under the presumption of innocence of the accused but it is equally imperative that persons who enter public life and participate in law making should be above any kind of serious criminal allegation. It is true that false cases are foisted on prospective candidates, but the same can be addressed by the Parliament through appropriate legislation. The nation eagerly waits for such legislation, for the society has a legitimate expectation to be governed by proper constitutional governance. The voters cry for systematic sustenance of constitutionalism. The country feels agonized when money and muscle power become the supreme power. Substantial efforts have to be undertaken to cleanse the polluted stream of politics by prohibiting people with criminal antecedents so that they do not even conceive of the idea of entering into politics. They should be kept at bay”"

  • 12:49 (IST)

    Read full judgment of the Supreme Court

    Supreme Court today ruled that it cannot issue a disqualification to bar those candidates from contesting elections against whom a chargesheet has been filed in criminal offences. Read the judgment here. 

  • Supreme Court has placed undue trust in political class 

    The Supreme Court also seems to have placed an undue trust in the political class by expecting that legislature will enthusiastically respond to its direction of 'considering the possibility of legislating on this subject'. As of now, just before major elections, it will be extraordinary if the government decides to bring such a law. It seems a near impossibility.

  • Can politicians with criminal history take office? SC ruling does not answer that

    Supreme Court has said this is the matter of concern and needs to be widely publicised and that Parliament should enact a legislation. Now, Parliament should make a law that those who are facing serious criminal cases should be debarred. At least, the Cabinet ministers, chief ministers and ministers in various state cabinets should be debarred by law if charged in a criminal cases. These are people who are holding public offices of great responsibility and it is widely held consensus around the world that people should not be allowed to hold public offices until they are cleared. They can go back to the court and say that quickly dispose of my case. 

    We should also ask that though they have won the people's election but can they take the oath of office? I feel that they should not be allowed to take the oath of office if they are charged with a criminal offence.

    Although Supreme Court has given the judgment and has declined to allow disqualification before conviction our views have always been that it will take time but it will happen. When we fought our first war of independence it was 1857 and we got independence only after 90 years from that time. So I will say we are very confident that it will happen with time.

  • SC ruling opens up real possibilities of trial being vitiated if politician continues to hold position of power

    The Supreme Court has ignored many other realities as well. There are real and immense possibilities of trial being vitiated if the MP / MLA continues to hold a position of power, especially if their party is in power.

    The police and the prosecution can be pressurised, witnesses can be intimidated (India anyway lacks a strong witness protection program) and as some incidents in the past have allegedly shown, even judges can be targetted.

  • Supreme Court verdict: Adding grounds for disqualification could be misused

    The Supreme Court has refrained from disqualifying MP/MLA on filing of chargesheet in serious offences. On the face of it, this seems appropriate for the following reasons — accepted criminal jurisprudence requires that every person is considered innocent till proven guilty; adding grounds for disqualification will properly be in the domain of legislature and given India's political realities, and it is a strong possibility that some charges may be politically motivated.

  • 12:25 (IST)

    Supreme Court order might not amount to anything, say most experts

    Majority of lawyers and experts in Parliament and legislative processes have said that nothing will come out of the Supreme Court order since the five-judge bench has put the ball in Parliament's court. The fact that an all-party consensus will be required to bring in the changes, which have been specified by the Supreme Court, tells us that it will take be a while before we see any substantial change. 

  • Supreme Court's order will require cross party consensus to be built for it to be past by Parliament

    The apex court has put the onus squarely in Parliament's court for ensuring the representative politics is free from criminalisation. It will now be the responsibility of the government to introduce legislation that will ensure individuals with criminal backgrounds are barred from contesting elections. It will also have to cast a balance so that filing of false cases does not prevent individuals from contesting elections. 

    This issue will require cross party consensus to be built for it to be past by Parliament.

  • Supreme Court order to name and shame politicians with criminal history laudatory

    Supreme court's judgment on disqualification of MPs and MLAs with criminal record on filing of chargesheet needs to be read with a pinch of salt. There are some positives but largely it has maintained status quo — MP/MLAs can be disqualified only upon conviction.

    The directions to publicise criminal antecedents, is laudatory, because voters seldom go through the nomination papers and unless some civil society organisation or a newspaper picks it up, this information doesn't reach the voters. The Supreme Court could have gone a step ahead, or may be Election Commission can use it's powers to make it mandatory to publicly make available information about criminal antecedents before nomination papers are accepted.

  • 12:11 (IST)

    BJP tops list with 94 MPs with self-declared criminal cases against them

    According to MyNetainfo, at least 34 percent of MPs in Lok Sabha have self-declared cases against them, and about 22 percent of these face serious criminal charges. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had the highest number of MPs (94) with self-declared criminal cases against them, followed by Shiv Sena (15).

  • Supreme Court order won't make any difference

    Former Chief Election Commission VS Sampath said that he does not expect any change as such from the Supreme Court order as it is on the government now to pass a legislation and make a law. "The court has given guidelines to political parties and now they should come together to form a law on this."

  • Parliament is not going to make this law as it has not done it for last 15 years

    What it (Supreme Court) has asked, is the disclosure of the pending criminal cases which have been going on for last 15- 20 years as the result of a judgment of the Supreme Court in the ADR case.

    Now, to say that it should be done three times and in bold letters is of no use. The Supreme Court has not accepted the reality on the ground and has not taken up its responsibility. Parliament is not going to make this law as it has not done it for last 15 years. I am very certain that no political party is going to do this, regardless of what the Supreme Court says. There is principle in law that if there is a gap in legislation and the legislature has not shown inclination to fill that gap and public interest is suffering then the judiciary has right and a duty to fill that gap till the time legislature fill it. Supreme Court should have done that. It should have said that we are making the law till such time the parliament makes such law. However, Supreme Court has unfortunately has not done anything good for the democracy in this judgment in this case.

  • Supreme Court has stuck to letter of law but not appreciated reality on ground

    This is a very disappointing judgment. The Supreme Court has stuck to the letter of the law but not appreciated the reality of the ground and it has overlooked the spirit of the law. 

  • 11:42 (IST)

    Dare govt to bring in law to curb criminalisation in politics, say activists

    Activists who have been fighting against politicians with criminal cases said they were extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court verdict. Speaking to TV channels, several activists who were directly affected by the verdict said that they dared the government to bring in law to curb criminalisation of politics. "Because in politics and for political parties, only winnability matters."

    However, lawyers have welcomed the Supreme Court verdict. 

  • 11:34 (IST)

    It's time Parliament made law to ensure ppl with serious criminal cases don’t enter public life: Supreme Court

    Supreme Court puts the onus on Parliament to ensure they keep politicians with criminal history out of the public life. Constitution bench has said that it cannot add any further disqualifications to the law. Says it’s time Parliament made law to ensure people with serious criminal cases don’t enter public life. 

  • 11:21 (IST)

    Parties should give wide publicity about criminal MPs/MLAs

    Supreme Court said that political parties should issue declaration and give wide publicity in electronic media about the antecedents of the candidates.

  • 11:16 (IST)

    EC forms should have all details about MPs/MLAs criminal past: Supreme Court

    Forms of Election Commission which are to be filled up candidates should contain detail about their criminal past and pending cases in bold letters

  • 11:16 (IST)

    Political parties' websites should have info on tainted MPs/MLAs prominently displayed 

    Political parties should issue declaration and give wide publicity in electronic media about the antecedents of the candidates.

  • 11:09 (IST)

    Parliament must make law

    Among the list of directions to curb criminalisation in politics, the supreme court said that Parliament must make law to ensure candidates with criminal antecedents don’t enter public life and take part in law making.

  • 11:05 (IST)

    Should disqualification run from date of framing of charge?

    The question before the Supreme Court in the current case was whether such disqualification should run from the date of framing of charge by the court instead of waiting for the conclusion of the trial.

  • 10:59 (IST)

    A 5-judge bench read out the judgment

    The judgment was pronounced by a Constitution Bench presided by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

    The judgment came in a batch of petitions including those filed by NGO Public Interest Foundation, former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh, and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

  • 10:58 (IST)

    Supreme Court issues slew of directions for curbing criminalisation of politics

    The Supreme Court issued a slew of directions for curbing criminalisation of politics. These include:

    – Candidates contesting must declare their criminal antecedents

    – Political parties must put up criminal antecedents of their candidates on their websites

    – Parliament must make law to ensure candidates with criminal antecedents don’t enter public life and take part in law making

    – Forms of Election Commission which are to be filled up candidates should contain detail about their criminal past and pending cases in bold letters

    – Political parties should issue declaration and give wide publicity in electronic media about the antecedents of the candidates

  • 10:54 (IST)

    The Supreme Court said that it is not in a position to add disqualification of candidates on filing of chargesheet in criminal cases. However, Supreme Court said that it will issue a slew of directions for curbing criminalisation of politics.

Supreme Court verdict LATEST updates: The Supreme Court also seems to have placed an undue trust in the political class by expecting that legislature will enthusiastically respond to its direction of 'considering the possibility of legislating on this subject'.

The Supreme Court has ignored many other realities as well. There are real and immense possibilities of trial being vitiated if the MP / MLA continues to hold a position of power, especially if their party is in power.

According to Association of Democratic Reforms, at least 34 percent of MPs in Lok Sabha have self-declared cases against them, and about 22 percent of these face serious criminal charges. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had the highest number of MPs (94) with self-declared criminal cases against them, followed by Shiv Sena (15).

This is a very disappointing judgment. The Supreme Court has stuck to the letter of the law but not appreciated the reality of the ground and it has overlooked the spirit of the law, Jagdeep Chhokar, founding member of ADR said. He further added that Parliament is not going to make this law as it has not done it for last 15 years. "I am very certain that no political party is going to do this, regardless of what the Supreme Court says."

Activists who have been fighting against politicians with criminal cases said they were extremely disappointed with the Supreme Court verdict. The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting an election, saying criminalisation of politics of the largest democracy is "unsettling". A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said that citizens have a right to be informed about the antecedents of their candidates.

The Supreme Court bench issued a slew of directions for curbing criminalisation of politics. The Supreme Court bench said that political parties should issue declaration and give wide publicity in electronic media about the antecedents of the candidates.

The apex court added that Parliament must make law to ensure candidates with criminal antecedents don’t enter public life and take part in law making. The Supreme Court said that candidates contesting elections must declare their criminal antecedents. The apex court said that it is not in a position to add disqualification of candidates on filing of chargesheet in criminal cases. However, Supreme Court said that it will issue a slew of directions for curbing criminalisation of politics.

The five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Fali Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra had in the course of hearing made it clear that it can neither lay down a law nor ask the Parliament to enact one to bar the politicians with criminal antecedents from contesting elections.

File image of Supreme Court of India. PTI

File image of Supreme Court of India. PTI

"We can't make a law or do something indirectly what we can't do directly. We will only see if we can do anything on disclosure (of criminal antecedents). We will see if we can add to the disclosure so that people make a well-informed choice at polling booth. Let people judge," Chief Justice Misra had said on the conclusion of arguments on 28 August when verdict was reserved.

Accepting that it could not pass directions which are in the nature of law making nor it could, respecting the separation of powers, asking the Parliament to enact law ejecting politicians with criminal antecedents from the electoral field, the Chief Justice taking recourse to the Right to Information, had said: "Right to information (about the criminal antecedents of the candidates) means right to proper information."

This court had said in the wake of strong resistance by the Centre which had told the court that the law making was within the exclusive domain of the legislature and "what court can't do directly (asking legislature to enact law), it can't do indirectly (by asking the Election Commission to frame regulation under the Symbol Rules)".

The court in the course of the hearing had asked whether it could direct the Election Commission (EC) to include in the symbol order a clause that a political party is liable to lose its recognition if it fields candidates accused of heinous crimes.

Recognising its constitutional limitations that it can only interpret the constitution and either read down or uphold a law, the apex court had indicated that it could take recourse to right to information to pass directions about the dissemination of information about the antecedents of a candidate so that voters could make an informed choice at the polling booth.

The EC had told the court that it had made the recommendation to eject a candidate from electoral fray after the framing of the charges in heinous cases way back in 1997, which was reiterated in 1999 and subsequently, but nothing moved.

Seeking the barring of politicians charge-sheeted in heinous crimes from the electoral fray, the PIL petitioner NGO Public Interest Foundation had contended that parliament with 34 percent lawmakers with criminal background will never act to cleanse the electoral politics.


Updated Date: Sep 25, 2018 13:35 PM

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