Criminals in politics: India
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Why do voters choose criminal politicians?
They have deep pockets, get things done
`Politicians are crooks.' This may be a cynical middle-class complaint, but it is also an empirical fact that more MPs with criminal records are being elected to Parliament than ever before. Milan Vaishnav, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, analyses this trend in his new book, When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics. He tells Amulya Gopalakrishnan why crime and democracy are so tightly linked in India
Why has the proportion of those with serious criminal records risen in Indian politics?
At the parliamentary level, 34% of MPs elected in 2014 face ongoing criminal cases and 21% stand accused of serious crimes. In 2004, the corresponding shares stood at 24 and 12%, respectively. One reason these shares are rising is simple: candidates implicated in wrongdoing do quite well at the polls. Their success has a chilling effect on individuals with clean records who might think twice about joining the electoral fray. As a result, the bad equilibrium perpetuates itself; politicians with questionable records are attracted to office while so-called “clean“ candidates exit.
Why do parties give tickets to those with criminal records?
A critical determining factor is money.Elections have grown increasingly expensive while party organisations have grown weaker. Parties are desperate for candidates with deep pockets who can not only finance their own campaigns, but can also pay parties for the privilege of running, or subsidise other candidates. Candidates with criminal records are disproportionately wealthy, so they have both the means to contest elections, as well as the incentives. While securing elected office does not grant them formal immunity, it does give them a certain degree of protection while opening up a new set of money-making opportunities.
Why do voters choose them, even when aware of these associations? You write that candidates use their criminal reputa tions to signal credibility. How does that work?
One of the most important takeaways from the book is that voters who support criminal candidates are usually well aware of their reputations. They are making rational, informed decisions when they enter the polling booth. In places where the rule of law is weak, which means that government is not able to carry out its most basic functions, and social relations between local communities are fraught, candidates can use their criminality as a sign of their credibility to “get things done“ for their supporters. If politics is viewed as a zero-sum game -that is, if another community wins, ours loses (or vice versa) -voters look for a representative who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect their group's social status.
What policy changes can minimise criminality in politics?
Before thinking about policy responses, we have to come to grips with why politicians linked to criminality do so well in the first place. If this was about uninformed voters, mass media campaigns could educate the electorate. Unfortu nately, a lack of information is not the binding constraint -it's a lack of governance. Until the local state can impartially guarantee security , dispense justice, and deliver core public services, strongmen will continue to fill the vacuum. Reducing the demand for criminal politicians will take generations, but in the short-term, Indians shouldn't sit on their hands and wait. To the contrary , they should work on measures that can help reduce their supply. This means cleaning up how elections are funded, reforming the functioning of political parties, and ensuring that elected officials charged with serious wrongdoing get speedy trials.
How can political finance be cleaned up?
How might demonetisation have disrupted this nexus between money, muscle and politics?
Demonetisation on its own will have a limited impact. It is a one-shot cleansing of the system which, as we have seen, can be gamed by those who want to turn black money white. What the government needs to do in the wake of demonetisation is to push for real election finance reform. In fact, Prime Minister Modi could propose four changes to existing laws on the books.
First, all political contributions should take place digitally . Second, all contributions must be subject to disclosure. Right now, only contributions above an arbitrary Rs 20,000 threshold must be openly declared. Third, party accounts have to be scrutinised by an independent, third-party auditor. If parties refuse to comply , they should be stripped of their tax bene fits. Fourth, the Election Commis sion needs stronger authorities to punish those who flout existing rules and regulations. Right now, politicians and parties who file false or misleading disclosures typically get off with a slap on the wrist. The virtue of this package of reforms is that it would be huge ly politically popular for the Prime Minister. Of course, all parties would take a hit. But the BJP -by virtue of its organisation and finan cial advantages -would likely be better off than its rivals.
Law and order may be a poll issue here but the `dagi' or `bahubali' tag doesn't seem to put off voters in east UP . Take the case of Amanmani Tripathi contesting from Nautanawa as an Independent. Accused of murdering his wife and behind bars, Tripathi is running a close race against Munna Singh of the SP-Congress alliance.
Ram Bhual Yadav, who runs a tea vend at Chandi dham here is a Tripathi fan. “There's been a lot of development here in Amanmaniji 's time. Power supply is so much better now,“ Yadav says. Amanmani's sisters, Tanusri and Alankrita, run his campaign and are popular. “Wonderful girls, they touch elders' feet,“ Yadav says.
Some 100km away , at Chullupar, BSP nominee Vinay Tiwari is the son of strongman Hari Shankar Tiwari, who has quite a do-gooder reputation, so much so that voters talk of his benevolence.
The blind dependence on brawn power, explains newsman Harshvardhan Shahi, arises wherever the government fails.
“Robin Hood-type netas then work wonders,“ he says.Gorakhpur University professor Kumar Harsh believes the phenomenon of people not losing faith in bahubalis is rooted in the social fabric.
“People believe in loyalty and (warmth). This has given rise to powerful families.
CRIME & POLITICS: The extent of the problem
TNN & AGENCIES 2013/07/12
450 ‘tainted’ [presumably, Lok Sabha] constituencies have at least 1 candidate facing criminal charges
104 seats [presumably, Lok Sabha]have 2 tainted candidates
& 56 constituencies [presumably, Lok Sabha] have more than 5 contesting tainted candidates
Voters tend to choose clean candidates. In seats where only 1 candidate had a criminal record, voters chose 83% of the clean candidates But percentage of clean candidates went down to 35% in seats with more than 5 tainted candidates
Between 2004 and 2009, number of MPs with criminal charges has risen from 128 to 162
The silver lining was number of MPs charged with rape, murder, kidnapping & extortion dipped from 296 in 2004 to 274 in 2009
The Supreme Court ordered political parties to publish details of any criminal cases that their candidates for the Lok Sabha or assembly elections may be involved in. These details, which are to be published within 48 hours of selection of such candidates, are to be accompanied with reasons for fielding them.
The analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an organisation that works in the area of electoral and political reforms, shows that in the past 15 years there has been a steady increase in the share of MPs with criminal cases even though there can be instances of complaints against candidates being motivated or related to political activism. For instance, Udayakumar SP, who fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls on an AAP ticket from Kanyakumari seat, had declared 382 criminal cases in his affidavit.
In 2004, ADR analysed affidavits filed by 514 MPs of which 125 or 24.3% had criminal cases against them. This proportion saw a 6% jump in 2009 — the year when next Lok Sabha elections were held. Election after election, the proportion of MPs with criminal cases kept increasing, and in 2019, nearly half of the elected MPs — 43.5% of 542 for which ADR analysed data — had criminal cases against them.
Almost one in every five candidates that contested the 2019 general elections was accused of committing a heinous crime. Nineteen percent of those who stood for elections faced charges, including rape, murder and kidnapping at the time of submitting their affidavits. Analysis of data from past elections shows that this proportion has also increased steadily. In 2004, the election year since when this data is available, 13.3% of the total 3642 candidates for which ADR analysed affidavits had criminal cases against them. In 2009, this proportion increased to 14.5%. Similarly, 2014 also saw an increase as 17.1% of the candidates had criminal cases against them.
Party wise analysis of the data shows that among major national and state parties RJD fielded the highest proportion of such candidates. More than 85% of its candidates had criminal cases against them. The party was followed by JD(U), SP and YSRCP, each having more than 50% of their candidates with criminal cases. Among major national parties, BJP fielded 40.5% candidates with criminal cases, while the proportion was a little over with 39% for Congress and the Left parties. AIADMK and BJD were only parties that had less than 20% candidates with criminal cases.
Analysis of elected MPs shows that JD(U) has 81.3% of its MPs with criminal cases at the time of filing their affidavits. It was followed by Shiv Sena and Congress where more than 50% of the MPs had criminal cases. The proportion was 50% for both Left and BSP.
Among larger parties that won over 10 constituencies, 38.7% of BJP MPs had criminal cases against them when they filed their affidavits. The proportion was over 40% for both DMK and YSRCP. Only 8.3% of BJD MPs had criminal cases against them — lowest among major parties.
2009 LS race saw tainted faces in 450 of 545 seats
Himanshi Dhawan | TNN
The Times of India 2013/07/12
New Delhi: At least one candidate with pending criminal charges was in the running in 450 of the 545 Lok Sabha constituencies during the 2009 general election. This indicates that the Supreme Court order that disqualifies candidates who’ve been convicted could have far-reaching repercussions on the electoral process.
Data analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) says that 150 constituencies had a single candidate with pending criminal charges while as many as 56 constituencies had five or more candidates who were “tainted”. The study is based on affidavits submitted by candidates ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Despite the dominance of muscle-power in our legislatures, voters have shown discretion in choosing wisely. The study points out that given a choice in the constituencies that had only one candidate with pending criminal charges, voters rejected tainted candidates, and chose 83% of the clean candidates.
The percentage of clean winners, however, drops to around 35% in constituencies with more than 5 tainted candidates.
Data provided by these politicos in their election affidavits show that 30% have criminal cases pending against them and 14% are fighting cases that fall under serious criminal offences, most with potential sentences of over five years. We aren’t talking here of any minor crimes, these MPs are accused of murder, rape, forgery, inciting hate and dubious deals: fraud and cheating.
State assemblies are no better. About 1,258 (31%) out of the 4,032 sitting MLAs from all state assemblies have declared criminal cases and 15% have declared serious criminal charges.
Among political parties, BJP leads the charge with 118 (12%) of its elected representatives having declared that they are booked under serious criminal charges. Keeping the saffron brigade company in the accusedof-serious-crime bracket is the Congres with 107 (8%) of its MPs and MLAs fighting murder, forgery, kidnap, rape charges among others.
Legislators from parties such as Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray’s MNS, Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, and the lesser-known Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) started by ex-CM Babulal Marandi have most of their elected representatives facing criminal cases. Eight of JVM (P)’s 11 legislators are accused of criminal activities, while 77% to 80% of elected Shiv Sainiks have criminal cases against them. JMM tops, or bottoms out, this list with 80% of its elected members waiting for courts to take a call.
Looking at the data state-wise, Karnataka’s 2013 polls saw the state’s tally of tainted MPs plus MLAs at 74, while over half of Bihar assembly (58%) qualifies to be in the tainted bracket. Gujarat’s 2012 polls saw its tainted MP-MLA count reach 57, that is 31% of the total from the state. On this count, 47% of legislators from Uttar Pradesh (state polls held in 2012) have declared criminal cases, Uttarakhand (which also went to polls in 2012) has 29% elected politicos with pending criminal cases.
The only good news from states that held elections in 2012 is Mizoram, where none of the 60 elected MPs and MLAs have any criminal cases against them.
Party-wise sitting MPs & MLAs with criminal cases (2013)
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha | 82%
RJD | 64%
Samajwadi Party | 48%
BJP | 31% (Out of 1,017 BJP MPs & MLAs, 313 have criminal cases)
Congres | 21% (Out of 1,433 Cong MPs & MLAs, 305 have criminal cases)
Madhya Pradesh: survey of 10 parliamentary constituencies
40% of AAP candidates in Madhya Pradesh have criminal records, 30% are billionaires PTI  | Apr 9, 2014
BHOPAL: Strange as it may seem, 30 per cent of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates for the second phase of Lok Sabha polls in Madhya Pradesh are billionaires, while 40 per cent have criminal records against them.
This was revealed in an analysis of candidates for the second phase by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and MP Election Watch (MPEW).
The ten constituencies which are set to go to polls in Madhya Pradesh during the second phase of polls on April 17 are Morena, Bhind, Gwalior, Guna, Sagar, Tikamgarh, Damoh, Khajuraho, Bhopal and Rajgarh.
Four out of ten of Cogress and BSP nominees have criminal records against them, while only three out of 10 BJP candidates have criminal cases filed against them.
All the 10 Congres candidates are billionaires, while eight out of 10 BJP nominees, four out of 10 BSP nominees and three out of six Samajwadi Party nominees are billionaires.
Giriraj Yadav, an independent candiate from the Guna constituency has a murder case against him, while Brindawan Singh Sikarwar, the BSP candidate from Morena has an attempt to murder case pending against him
2014: 34% MPs have criminal background; an increase of 4 percentage points
Every third newly-elected MP has criminal background
In 2009, 30% of the Lok Sabha members had criminal cases. This has now gone up by 4%. NEW DELHI: Every third of the newly-elected member of Lok Sabha has a criminal background, an analysis of the disclosures they have made in their affidavits has shown.
An analysis of 541 of the 543 winning candidates by National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that 186 or 34% newly elected MPs have in their election affidavits disclosed criminal cases against themselves.
In 2009, 30% of the Lok Sabha members had criminal cases. This has now gone up by 4%.
According to the analysis, a candidate with criminal cases had 13% chance of winning in the 2014 Lok Sabha election whereas it was 5% for an aspirant with a clean record.
Of the 186 new members, 112 (21%) have declared serious criminal cases, including those related to murder, attempt to murder, causing communal disharmony, kidnapping, crimes against women, etc.
Party wise, the largest numbers 98 or 35% of the 281 winners from the BJP have in their affidavits declared criminal cases against themselves.
Eight (18%) of the 44 winners from the Congres, six (16%) of the 37 winners from the AIADMK, 15 (83%) of the 18 winners from the Shiv Sena, and seven (21%) of the 34 winners fielded by Trinamool Congres also have disclosed criminal cases against themselves.
Likelihood of elected politician to be a criminal vis-a-vis the common man
1 in 30 MPs faces murder charge, for rest of India it’s only 1 in 1,061
Ratio Of Netas Accused Of Crime Far Higher Than That Of Aam Admi
Atul Thakur TIG
The Times of India 2013/09/29
It’s often argued that criminalization of politics merely reflects the increasing criminalization of society. However, an analysis of data on Lok Sabha members facing criminal charges and official figures on crime in India show that the proportion of people facing such charges is way higher among members of Parliament in Lok Sabha than in the population as a whole. In fact, for a range of serious charges, the rate among LS members is anywhere between 20 and 200 times higher. TOI analysed data compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) from affidavits filed by MPs at the time of elections and figures from the National Crime Records Bureau to come up with this sobering finding. (We added together cases pending police investigation and cases pending trial by courts to arrive at a cumulative number.)
Sample this: One in every 30 MPs elected in the 2009 general elections was facing charges of murder or related charges. On the other hand, in the populace at large, there was at worst one person per 1,061 of the same age group (aged 25 and above) facing investigations or trials for murder in 2009.
1 in 54 MPs faces kidnapping charge
Similarly, one in every 23 MPs was facing the charge of attempt to commit murder. For the population at large, the corresponding number was one among every 4,220.
MPs also convincingly outdid average Indians in kidnapping/abduction and dacoity/robbery cases. In 2009, one in every 54 MPs was facing investigation or trial for kidnapping/abduction or dacoity/robbery. The corresponding figures for the general population was one kidnapping/abduction case per 5,510 people and one dacoity/robbery case per 3,832.
When it comes to riots too, our MPs clearly stand out from the crowd. Compared to one case for every 1,436 Indians, the figure for the Lok Sabha was one in every 54. The honourable exception to this otherwise depressing pattern is rape, where the ADR data indicates that there was no pending rape case against any of the MPs elected in 2009.
For the purposes of our comparative analysis, we laid down certain parameters to get around the problem of the ADR and NCRD data not being strictly comparable. These actually worked in favour of the MPs — and without which the numbers would have been stacked even more heavily against them.
Since it would be unfair to compare crime rate for MPs, who have to be 25 years or more of age, with the entire population including children, we took only the 25-plus population of India in 2009 for comparison. That roughly halved the population figure. Unfortunately, NCRB data does not give us figures for how many of those cases are pending against those aged below 25, so we took into account all crimes, including those that would have been committed by people younger than 25. This seriously overestimates the general crime rate, since it is an established fact that nearly half of all crimes are committed by people aged between 18 and 30. Despite that, crime rate among our netas is much higher than among the general population.
Another point of difference between ADR and NCRB: The ADR data on murder-related charges against MPs includes cases under section 300, 302, 303, 304, 304A, 304B, 305, 306, 308 of IPC. The corresponding NCRB data compiled by TOI includes section 302, 304, 304A, 304B and 308. There are similar differences for other crimes. Yet, the comparison does indicate the degree of difference in criminalization in Parliament and in society at large.
Of course, it is possible that some or even a significant chunk of the charges MPs face are politically motivated. But even if 10% of them are genuine, that would still mean our lawmakers have a much higher proportion of criminals in their midst than those who elected them.
Half of UP ministers have criminal records/ 2016
More than half of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's ministerial colleagues have criminal records, says a pre-election survey by the Association for Democratic Reforms. The report, released on Tuesday , reveals that 28 out of 55 members of the Akhilesh ministry face criminal charges.
Of the 28 ministers who declared pending criminal cases in their 2012 election affidavits, 11 face serious charges including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and communal disharmony . While MoS for external aided projects and rural development, Ram Karan Arya, faces murder charges, MoS for maternal, child and family welfare Ravidas Mehrotra, an MLA from Lucknow Central, heads the tally with 17 cases against him.
While Akhilesh's cabinet has 56 ministers, the record of cabinet minister for jails, Balwant Singh Ramuwalia, has not been assessed because he did not contest the UP polls. According to ADR, the criteria for serious criminal cases include offences for which the maximum punishment is of five years or more, an offence that is non-bailable, and which is also an electoral offence (IPC 171E or bribery).
It also includes offences related to loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnapping and rape, mentioned in section 8 of the Representation of People's Act.
The ADR data also throws up in teresting facts about the cabinet ministers' incomes, assets and tax paying habits. Akhilesh has emerged as the minister with the highest income among his 55 ministerial colleagues.According to an assessment of Akhilesh's 2010-11 ITR filings, the CM declared an income of Rs 42.45 lakh.
Akhilesh is followed, in the high income ministers category , by Abhishek Mishra, minister for vocational education and skill development.Mishra's annual income declared during the financial year 2011-12 was Rs 26.38 lakh, while Mehboob Ali, minister for textile and sericulture industries, economics and statistics and minor irrigation declared Rs 25.69 lakh as his annual income in ITR.
Coordinator, UP Election Watch, Sanjay Singh, said, “We analysed ITR data of 2010-11and 2011-12 depending upon the availability of the data. We did not have access to data after 2012.“
The ADR report has also prepared a list of ministers with the highest assets. In this category , MoS (independent charge) for religious affairs, Vijay Mishra trumps Akhilesh with assets worth Rs 9.51 crore.Akhilesh, on the second spot, has declared total assets of Rs 8.84 crore and occupies the second spot.
UP , 2017
Criminals in politics
New Delhi : The Centre has told the Lok Sabha that CBI has registered 56 cases against members of Parliament or legislative assemblies (MPs and MLAs) across states, in the last five years between 2017 and 2022.
Replying to a Lok Sabha question on the subject by Trinamool Congress MP Mala Roy, minister of state for personnel, public grievances and pensions and PMO, Jitendra Singh said that out of the 56 cases registered by the CBI in the last five years, chargesheets have been filed in 22 cases.
According to Singh, the conviction rate for CBI during the last five years ranged from 66. 9% in 2017 to 67. 5% in 2021 with the highest conviction rate recorded being 69. 8% in 2020.
Even while BJP-ruled UP has six cases and Arunachal Pradesh five against MLAs or MPs, non-BJP ruled states like Andhra Pradesh has 10 cases, West Bengal has five, Tamil Nadu four such cases, and Kerala six as per the data shared by the government. CBI has registered three cases each against legislators in Delhi and Bihar in the last five years.
Names of political parties against whose MLAs and MPs cases have been registered by CBI include : Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress (YSRC), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Jana Sena Party (JSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), even as party wise numbers were not specified.
2018: 35% CMs face criminal cases
In India, around 35 per cent chief ministers have criminal cases against them and 81 per cent of the total are crorepatis, according to an ADR report. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) have analysed the self-sworn affidavits of current chief ministers (CMs) in state assemblies and Union territories across the nation.
These were the latest affidavits filed by them prior to contesting the elections. "Out of the all 31 chief ministers analysed from state assemblies and Union territories, 11 (35 per cent) chief ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves," the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report noted.
Further, 26 per cent CMs have declared serious criminal cases, including related to murder, attempt to murder, cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, criminal intimidation, among others.
Interestingly, as many as 25 CMs, or 81 per cent, are crorepatis, with two of them having assets to the tune of over Rs 100 crore. The average assets of CMs are worth Rs 16.18 crore.
According to the report, Andhra Pradesh's Chandra Babu Naidu has emerged as the wealthiest chief minister with declared assets worth over Rs 177 crore, followed by Arunanchal Pradesh's Pema Khandu (over Rs 129 crore) and Amarinder Singh of Punjab (over Rs 48 crore).
The CM with the lowest declared asset is Tripura's Manik Sarkar with assets worth Rs 27 lakh, followed by West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee (over Rs 30 lakh) and Jammu and Kashmir's Mehbooba Mufti (Rs 56 lakh).
In terms of educational qualification, 10 per cent of 31 chief ministers are 12th pass, 39 per cent graduate, 32 per cent graduate professional, 16 per cent post graduate and 3 per cent doctorate.
2018: 7% of Meghalaya candidates have criminal background
An analysis of the self-sworn affidavits of contesting candidates in Meghalaya shows that out of the 370 nominees, 25 (7%) have criminal cases against them. According to a report of Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) which analysed the affidavits, 21 of the candidates have declared serious criminal cases against them, including murder, attempt to murder and cases related to crime against women such as rape.
Out of the 370 candidates analysed, 152 or 41% are crorepatis. “The average of assets per candidate contesting in the Meghalaya assembly elections is Rs 3.54 crore,” said the report. It said 41 per cent of the candidates have declared their educational qualification to be between class V and XII, while 56 percent have declared having education qualification of graduation or above. “One candidate is illiterate,” it said.
2018: 36% of all MPs, MLAs facing criminal cases
1,765 Lawmakers Being Tried: Centre To SC
Projecting a grim picture of the extent of criminalisation of politics, the Centre has informed the Supreme Court that 1,765 MPs and MLAs, or 36% of parliamentarians and state assembly members, are facing criminal trial in 3,045 cases. The total strength of lawmakers in Parliament and assemblies is 4,896.
The government gathered details of cases against lawmakers for the first time to put them on fast-track hearing to conclude the trial within a year.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme court, the Centre has placed state-wise figure of cases pending against lawmakers which will be assigned to special courts to be set up to exclusively hear these cases on day to day basis. The highest number of cases against lawmakers is in Uttar Pradesh followed by Tamil Nadu, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Case details against lawmakers from Maharashtra and Goa were not mentioned by the Centre as information had not come from the two state governments and the high court.
As the number of cases against lawmakers was not available with Centre and the Election Commission, the apex court had granted the Centre two months time to compile the data so that a decision could be made on the number of special courts to be set up to hear such cases within a year, a timeframe fixed by the SC in 2014. The Supreme court had asked the Centre to constitute special courts to exclusively deal with cases against the lawmakers.
On the basis of figures provided by NGO ‘Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)’ which had alleged that 1,581 cases were pending against lawmakers after the 2014 elections, the Centre framed a scheme to set up 12 fast-track courts across the country to try such cases.
But now, the Centre will need to double the number of special courts as the total cases stands at 3,045.
The affidavit was filed in compliance with the SC’s order directing the Centre to collect data on pending cases against lawmakers after petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has contended that the number of cases was more than 13,500.
The Centre informed the court that all 12 special courts will get operational shortly as the high courts had issued notifications for constituting them. The Centre sanctioned Rs 7.80 crore to states in which the fast-track courts are to be set up.
Two special courts are to be set up in Delhi to handle cases against 228 MPs and the other 10 courts are be set up in 10 states — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, UP and West Bengal — where number of tainted MLAs are more than 65 each.
2019: 26% rise in MPs with criminal history
Forty-three per cent of newly-elected Lok Sabha members have criminal charges against them, a 26% increase compared to 2014, according to an analysis by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). Of the 539 winning candidates analysed by ADR, as many as 233 or 43% have criminal charges.
BJP has 116 MPs or 39% of its candidates with criminal cases, followed by 29 MPs (57%) from Congress, 13 (81% ) from JD(U), 10 (43%) from DMK and nine (41%) from TMC, the report said.
In 2014, 185 Lok Sabha members (34%) had criminal charges and 112 MPs had serious criminal cases against them. In 2009, 162 (nearly 30% ) out of the 543 Lok Sabha MPs had criminal charges and 14% had serious criminal charges, it said.
In the 17th Lok Sabha, nearly 29% of the cases are related to rape, murder, attempt to murder or crime against women, the non-government organisation said. “There is an increase of 109% (in 2019) in the number of MPs with declared serious criminal cases since 2009,” it said. Eleven MPs — five from BJP, two from BSP, one each from Congress, NCP and YSR Congress Party, and an Independent — have murder charges against them, ADR said. While Pragya Singh Thakur, the newly-elected BJP MP from Bhopal, faces terror charges in connection with the 2008 Malegaon blasts, 29 winners have cases related to hate speech, the report said. Dean Kuriakose from Congress, who won from Idukki in Kerala, has 204 criminal cases against him, including culpable homicide, house trespass, robbery, criminal intimidation, it added.
On the financial status of candidates, the report identified 475 (88%) of the 539 winners ananysed as crorepatis. The average assets per winner in the 2019 LS polls was Rs 20.93 crore. Among the major political parties, average assets per winner for 301 BJP MPs was Rs 14.52 crore, 51 Congress MPs had average assets of Rs 38.71 crore, 23 DMK MPs had average assets worth Rs 24.51 crore, 22 YSRCP MPs had average assets of Rs 54.85 crore and 22 TMC MPs had average assets of Rs. 6.15 crore.
The three richest MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha are from Congress. MP CM Kamal Nath’s son Nakul Nath, elected from Chhindwara, led the list with over Rs 660 crore in assets, followed by Kanyakumari MP Vasanthakumar H, with over Rs 417 crore.
The Lok Sabha will have 194 (36%) members between the ages of 25 and 50 years, while 343 (64%) are between 51 and 80 years. Two MPs are over 80 years old. Seventyseven (14%) women have been elected.
As in 2020
Party-wise tally of MPs with declared criminal cases as per ADR report, presumably as in 2020
A compilation of criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs, from reports sent by various high courts to the Supreme Court, showed that they face trial in as many as 4,442 criminal cases, with sitting legislators figuring in the list of accused persons in 2,556 cases, reports Dhananjay Mahapatra.
Acting on a PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking speedy trial of criminal cases against sitting and former MPs/MLAs, the SC had directed HCs to send details of criminal cases pending against former and present legislators.
Cases against legislators: UP No. 1, Bihar 2nd
The SC has asked amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria and advocate Sneha Kalita to tabulate the information for submission along with suggestions for expediting trials in criminal cases pending against sitting and former MPs/MLAs. It has directed states to set up special courts to exclusively try criminal cases involving sitting and former MPs/MLAs.
In his report to the SC on Tuesday, Hansaria said, “There are a total of 4,442 cases pending against MPs/ MLAs (sitting and former) in different courts, including special courts for MPs and MLAs. In 2,556 cases, sitting legislators are accused persons. There are 413 cases in respect of offences, which are punishable with imprisonment for life, out of which in 174 cases, sitting MPs/ MLAs are accused.”
UP tops the table with sitting legislators accused in 35 heinous offences, which are punishable with life sentence. It is followed by Bihar with sitting legislators involved in 30 cases, Karnataka with 27 and Maharashtra with 17. Hansaria said the data sent by HCs showed that cases have been pending for a long time and in many instances, non-bailable arrest warrants issued by trial courts were yet to be executed. “In a large number of cases, even charges have not been framed, including those punishable with imprisonment for life,” he said. If the total number of cases, including those involving heinous offences, are to be taken into account for a comparative chart, then too UP is at the top with 446 cases pending against sitting MPs/ MLAs. Kerala comes second with sitting MPs/MLAs facing trial in 310 cases.
As in 2021
Cases in which sitting MLAs are accused, Cases with verdict pending, Cases that can get life sentence, state-wise
AHMEDABAD: One in every five candidates in the fray in the first phase of the Gujarat assembly elections faces criminal charges, according to an analysis of 788 candidates for 89 seats carried out by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The analysis shows that 21% of the total candidates in the first phase have criminal records, up from 15% in these seats in the 2017 elections. Importantly, the percentage of those facing serious criminal charges has increased from 8% in 2017 to 13% in these polls. These offences include electoral misdemeanours, causing loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnapping and rape.
Among the political parties, AAP has fielded the highest number of candidates with criminal cases. Of the 88 candidates fielded by the party, 36% have a criminal record, with 30% facing serious charges.
Among the Congress nominees, 35% face criminal charges, and 20% are dealing with serious charges. As for BJP, 16% of its candidates face criminal charges, and 12% of them have serious charges against them.
In the first phase of 2017 polls, Congress had 36% candidates with criminal cases, BJP 25%, and AAP 11%.
Constituencies with three or more candidates with criminal records have also increased from 22 in 2017 to 25 in 2022.
Of the 15 candidates in the Limbdi constituency in the 2022 poll, seven have criminal cases against them. In other constituencies, termed ‘red alert constituencies’ by ADR, the situation is no different. On the Karanj seat in Surat district, four of the eight candidates have criminal records, whereas three of the four candidates on the Dediapada seat in Narmada district face criminal charges.
Age profile; Assets; Average value of candidates's assets, 2022
Average assets of candidates up 44%
The ADR survey shows that the average assets of the candidates in the first phase have gone up by 44% this time – from Rs 2 crore in 2017 to Rs 2.9 crore this year. Party-wise, the average assets increased from Rs 10 crore to Rs 13.4 crore for BJP; from Rs 8 crore to Rs 8.4 crore for Congress; and from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore for AAP. The repeat candidates have recorded a rise in their assets: Indranil Rajguru, the Congress candidate from Rajkot East, saw a 15% rise in assets from Rs 141 crore to Rs 162 crore, whereas Pabubha Manek, the BJP candidate from Dwarka, recorded a 31% rise in assets from Rs 88 crore to Rs 115 crore. On the other hand, Rajguru has the most liabilities at Rs 76 cr. Rajguru was the richest candidate in the first phase of the 2017 poll, with assets worth Rs 141 crore. This time, he was pipped by Ramesh Tilara, who is the richest with assets worth Rs 175 crore.
In the last polls, five individuals had assets worth more than Rs 100 crore. This time, there are only four. Rajguru is the only person of the Rs 100 crore club who has remained in the contest. TNN
2018: Congress’ alleged and AGP’s convicted rhino poachers
In a major embarrassment for Congress, Dilwar Hussain, who has a case against him for rhino poaching in Kaziranga, won the panchayat president’s seat in Biswanath district’s Suwaguri. Ganesh Doley, another rhino poacher who has even served a jail term, also contested on an AGP ticket for the Moridhari panchayat seat in AGP chief and minister Atul Bora’s constituency Bokakhat in Golaghat. However, he lost.
Congress said the party made a last-ditch effort to withdraw Hussain’s nomination, but failed. “When we came to know Hussain’s background, we promptly moved to reject his nomination on our symbol. But by then, the scrutiny was over and it became technically impossible to withdraw the symbol from his candidature,” district Congress chief Dilip Baruah said.
Hussain has a case against him for poaching rhinos in Kaziranga National Park — home to two-thirds of the world’s one-horned rhino population. Baruah said the party now has its hands tied . “We cannot do anything. People voted for him,” he said.
Hussain did not take calls, but his supporters said he is a reformed person now.
Cases pending against politicians
Criminal and serious criminal cases against MPs, 2009>2014
As in 2018
Seeking to arrest the trend of never-ending criminal trials against politicians, the Supreme Court asked high courts to allocate the pending 4,122 criminal cases against them to an adequate number of sessions and magisterial courts for expeditious completion of trials.
A report filed by amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria in the apex court providing statewise details of cases pending against politicians said that “4,122 criminal cases were pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs, of which 2,324 cases were against sitting legislators, and some of the cases were pending for three decades”.
Among those facing such cases are the chief ministers of Karnataka and Punjab, H D Kumaraswamy and Amarinder Singh, respectively.
2018: state-wise pendency
People had reposed faith in them for development of the state but many elected representatives were found involved in serious criminal cases forcing the Supreme Court to direct HCs to set up sessions and magisterial courts to expeditiously complete trial against the accused politicians.
State-wise details of current and former legislators who have a large number of cases pending against them and there is gross delay in completion of trial: UP (990 cases against sitting and former MPs/ MLAs): Former Samajwadi Party MP Ateeq Ahmed has 22 FIRs against him, 10 of which involve offences punishable with death/life sentence. His brother and former MLA Khalid Azeem faces six FIRs of which five are offences punishable with death/life sentence. Former MLA Pawan Pandey faces 12 FIRs of which three is punishable with death/life sentence. UP minister and BJP MLA Upendra Tiwari has six FIRs against him of which three are punishable with death/life sentence.
Odisha (331 cases): Former Congress MLA Ramesh Chandra Jena faces 33 cases, five of which are for murder. Sitting Congress MLA George Tirkey faces 27 criminal cases, sitting BJD MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan faces 23 criminal cases and former Congress MLA Yudhishtira Kedar Samantray has 20 FIRs against him, including murder cases.
Kerala (323 cases): Electricity minister and CPM MLA M M Mani faces murder case in which FIR was registered in 1982, chargesheet filed in 2015 but charges are yet to be framed. Two more sitting CPM MLAs M Naushad and T V Rajesh face murder charges in FIRs in 1997 and 2015 and in both cases charges are yet to be framed. Sitting CPM MLAs Kadkamp-alli Surendran, Antony John, C K Saseendran, A N Shamseer face 24, 18, 15 and 15 cases respectively.
Bihar (304 cases): Sitting Congress MLA Shamim Akhtar faces an FIR registered in 1991 in which chargesheet was filed in 1994 but after 24 years, charges are yet to be framed. Mokama don turned politician and sitting MLA Anant Singh faces a 1993 FIR for an offence punishable with life sentence but charges have not yet been framed. JD(U) MLA Randhir Kumar Soni was accused of an offence punishable with life sentence in 2005 but charges are yet to be framed. An FIR was registered against RJD MP from Araria Sarfaraz Alam in 1996 for an offence punishable with life sentence, chargesheet was filed in 1996 but charges are to be framed. Of 304 cases, 23 are punishable with life sentence.
West Bengal (262 cases): In 2008 FIR against Congress MLA Arjun Halder, chargesheet was filed in 2009 but charges have not been framed. Former CM B S Yeddyurappa faces 18 criminal cases of which 14 are punishable with life imprisonment. All these cases are awaiting chargesheet and pending investigation. Former MLC G Janardan Reddy faces nine cases of which eight are punishable with life sentence and out of eight, six are still pending investigation. Former BJP MLA and ex-minister C P Yogeshwar faces 14 cases of which five are punishable with life imprisonment. Sitting BJP MLA B P Anand Kumar faces nine FIRs of which seven are for offences punishable with life sentence.
Gujarat (119 cases): NCP’s sitting MLA Kandhalbhai S Jadeja faces six criminal cases, of which three under TADA and Arms Act are punishable with life imprisonment or 10 years jail term. In these three, charges have not been framed for 20 years.
Assam (38 cases): Kokrajhar independent MP Nabha Kumar Sarania faces four cases involving offences punishable with life imprisonment.
Haryana (35 cases): Former Gurgaon MLA Sukhbir Kataria faces 20 cases, some of which are punishable with life imprisonment; charges not framed in any.
Himachal Pradesh (34 cases): Sitting BJP MP Anurag Thakur faces three cases, but the SC/HC have stayed trial; CPM MLA from Theog Rakesh Singha faces 15 cases but charges have not been framed.
2018: ‘Charges yet to be framed in 1,991 cases’
Karnataka Lokayukta police had filed an FIR against Karnataka CM H D Kumaraswamy on May 16 last year for an “offence punishable with life imprisonment”. An FIR was registered against Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on March 23, 2007, under the Prevention of Corruption Act and several provisions of the IPC, but the trial court is yet to frame charges.
Hansaria and advocate Sneha Kalita told a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, “Out of the 4,122 cases, charges are yet to be framed in 1,991 cases and 430 cases involving offences punishable with death/life sentence are pending against 180 sitting legislators and former legislators.” The amicus suggested setting up a sessions and a magisterial court in each of the 440 districts where these 4,122 cases are pending.
Taking note of politiciancriminal nexus, the SC ordered, “Instead of designating one sessions court and one magisterial court in each district, we request each high court to assign/allocate criminal cases involving former and sitting legislators to as many sessions courts and magisterial courts as each high court may consider proper, fit and expedient...”
Aiming for speedier trial in cases of heinous offences against politicians, the SC asked trial courts to give priority to cases involving “offences punishable with imprisonment for life/death against sitting MPs/MLAs as well as former MPs/MLAs”.
Finding that sitting MLAs from Bihar and Kerala were accused in most cases of heinous offences, the CJI-led bench made a special procedure for trial of legislators in the two states. “The designated courts in the districts in the aforesaid two states of Kerala and Bihar will submit monthly report to the high court with regard to the cases where chargesheets have not yet been filed, cases where charges have not yet been framed giving reasons there for, and the progress of the trial where the cases are ready. The high courts, in turn, will forward the said reports to the registry of this court with a copy to the amicus curiae who is requested to go through the said reports and assist the court by placing the information conveyed before this court...”
As in 2021
Despite its order to expeditiously conclude trial of criminal cases involving lawmakers, the Supreme Court has been informed that many such cases have been pending for years with a total of 121 cases which are pending trial against sitting and former MPs/MLAs in special CBI courts across the country. One case has been pending for over 20 years.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, has compiled the data and filed before the court. As per the data, as many as 58 of cases involve crimes punishable with life imprisonment.
“It may be noted that out of 121 cases pending trial before the special courts, as many as 58 cases are punishable with life imprisonment. In 45 cases, even the charges have not been framed, though the offences are alleged to have been committed several years back,” the report said. The oldest pending case is in Patna, where the accused was chargesheeted on June 12, 2000. The report highlighted inordinate delay in several cases pending trial before CBI courts in different parts of the country.
As per details of the cases pending trial before different CBI courts, total number of MPs involved is 56, of which sitting MPs are 14, former MPs 37 while five have since passed away. Total number of MLAs involved includes 34 sitting, 78 former 78 and nine who have expired. According to the Enforcement Directorate’s status report, a total number of 51 MPs, both sitting and former, are accused in cases arising out of offences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
“All the high courts may be directed to issue administrative instructions to the effect that the courts concerned dealing with cases investigated by CBI and Enforcement Directorate shall deal with the cases pending before MPs/MLAs on priority basis and other cases shall be dealt only after the trial in these cases are over,” said the report. The report suggested that a monitoring committee may be constituted comprising a former judge of the SC or the former Chief Justice of a HC, the director, ED (or his nominee), the director, and CBI (or his nominee), among others to be nominated by the SC to monitor those pending cases.
Convicts’ rights curbed
2018: jailed MLAs barred from voting for RS
In a setback to Opposition parties on the eve of the Rajya Sabha polls, two jailed MLAs — one from SP and another from BSP — were stopped by courts from voting.
The development depleted the strength of the SP-BSP-Congress combine by two and could play a key role in the battle for the 10th seat. While Eight BJP candidates, including Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, and SP’s Jaya Bachchan are sure to get through, BSP’s Bhimrao Ambedkar and BJP’s Anil Agarwal will have to battle it out for the last seat.
The Allahabad high court stopped BSP’s Mukhtar Ansari and Firozabad session court ruled that SP’s Hariom Yadav can’t vote in Friday’s election. Justice Rajul Bhargava also issued notice to Ansari and fixed April 9 as the next date of hearing.
Mafia don-turned-politician, Ansari, is lodged in UP’s Banda jail.
‘Convicted politicians heading parties is worrisome’: SC
‘Convicted Politicians Heading Parties Is Worrisome’
The Supreme Court said “it was worrisome” that convicted politicians, debarred by law from contesting elections, could head political parties and select candidates who possibly could be part of governance after polls.
“If a convicted person cannot contest elections under the Representation of the People Act, how can he float or head a political party and select candidates for contesting elections,” a three-judge bench led by CJI Dipak Misra asked even as the Election Commission, through counsel Amit Sharma, supported a PIL by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a ban on convicted persons from heading political parties.
Sharma said the EC had been endorsing this stand from 1998 but the commission did not have unilateral power to bar convicted persons from heading political parties. He said if Parliament amended the RP Act and brought in such a provision, the EC would take steps to implement it.
The bench appeared determined to keep elections clean when it said, “Ostracising corruption from the purity of election is the avowed object of law. The Supreme Court in its series of judgments has furthered this object. What one cannot do (contest elections) individually, he cannot be permitted to do it (select candidates) collectively (as head of a political party).”
The bench cited the SC judgment in Lily Thomas case in which the court had quashed a provision of RP Act which permitted convicted MPs and MLAs to retain their seat if they merely appealed against their conviction in a higher court. With the SC quashing the protective provision, MPs and MLAs now attract immediate disqualification upon conviction and sentence for two years or more.
In December, the PIL had come for preliminary hearing before the same bench, which had asked, “How far can the courts go? Let the government and Parliament look into this. Can we stop a convicted person from heading a political party? Will it not be incongruent with the right to free speech? Can the court restrain a convicted person from propagating his political views?”
The petitioner complained that a person convicted of serious criminal offence could form a political party and head it despite being barred from contesting elections. “For instance, Lalu Prasad, O P Chautala and V K Sasikala have been convicted for major criminal offences but still hold high posts in political parties,” he had said.
Upadhyay’s counsel Sidharth Luthra pressed the advantage of the SC’s changed tack and said purity of election process needed to be safeguarded at all costs. The bench said, “A convicted person can surely forge association with others for philanthropic purposes and can even open a school. There is no difficulty in this. But when they come in the field of governance, that becomes worrisome.”
During the hearing on December 2, Luthra had cited earlier SC judgments indicating a judicial desire to make elections transparent and free from criminal elements and money power. “Proliferation of political parties has become a major concern as Section 29A allows a small group of people to form a political party by making a simple declaration,” he had said.
“At present, only about 20% of registered political parties contest elections and remaining 80% parties are on paper, creating unwarranted pressure on conduct of elections requiring huge spending from public exchequer,” he added.
Disqualifying those with heinous offences is Parliament’s mandate: SC
The Supreme Court said it would not cross the ‘laxman rekha’ to foray into Parliament’s arena and disqualify those against whom charges have been framed in heinous offences from contesting elections, but asked the Centre whether such candidates could be deprived of party symbols in the polls.
“We have to steer completely clear of adding a disqualification for candidates as that is purely a mandate given to Parliament. We are clear it is a legislative matter. But short of that, what can we do to stop this rot (criminalisation of politics)? Indirectly also, we are not going to add any disqualification,” a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said.
The CJI and Justice Nariman asked attorney general K K Venugopal, “Can we not direct the EC to frame a rule under the Symbols Order, which is not a legislative exercise but an administrative decision taken by the EC under Article 324 powers, to ask political parties to get affidavits from each primary member detailing their criminal antecedents and provide that those facing trial in heinous offences, if given tickets to contest elections, would be deprived of the symbol allotted to the national and state-level political parties.” The AG said all candidates, as per an SC order of 2003, gave their criminal antecedents in an affidavit so as to enable voters to make an informed choice. Opposing the SC proposal, he said, “The criminal justice system operates on the cardinal principle of ‘innocent till pronounced guilty by a court of law’. Should the SC direct EC to brand someone a criminal even before he is convicted? This way, the SC will be indirectly imposing sanction not only against a candidate but also against a political party.”
Taking the cue from Justice Malhotra, the AG said, “The SC must recognise the ground reality in politics and the way it is being played. The upper limit of election expenses for an LS constituency is Rs 2-3 lakh. But most of them spend much more and in some cases, it is Rs 30 crore. In this scenario, it is absurd to say that those against whom charges are framed will face sanctions. If this happens, then parties will be fighting not in the electoral arena but in courts.” He did some plain talking, “Is it for the legislature to decide or for five judges sitting in court? If the court decides to impose further sanctions than what is provided in the law, it will encourage MPs and MLAs to say the court is not accountable to people, yet can order anything.”
SC’s 1-year deadline for completion of trials against politicians
Trials Pending Despite SC Fixing 1-Yr Deadline
The Supreme Court’s four-year-old judgment fixing one-year deadline for completion of trials against politicians, MPs and MLAs lies in tatters as it was informed that cases against political leaders were pending for decades.
In the ‘Public Interest Foundation’ case on March 10, 2014, the SC had ordered that trial of pending criminal cases against politicians carrying more than two years punishment must be held on a day-to-day basis and completed within a year of framing of charges.
Hearing another PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had on October 10 tasked amicus curiae Vijay Hansaria and advocate Sneha Kalita to compile data submitted by various HCs regarding fast tracking of trials in criminal cases against politicians even as it observed that 12 special courts set up across the country for the purpose were grossly inadequate.
The amicus submitted details of 3,956 pending cases in different states. Startling examples about complete disregard for the SC’s 2014 judgment came from Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- 10 cases against an MLA from Vadodara district filed between 1989 and 1998 are pending for evidence.
- Two cases against an MLA from Banaskantha-Palanpur district filed between 1994 and 1999, punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years, are pending for evidence.
- Six cases against an MLA from Bharuch district filed in 1994 under Arms Act and Electricity Act are pending for evidence.
- Five cases under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act against politicians in Porbandar district filed between 1999 and 2002 are pending as proceedings are stayed by the HC.
- A case filed against a politician in 1996 under Economic Offences Wing of police, charge framed in 2007 and new chargesheet filed this year.
In Chhattisgarh, Goa, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Delhi, cases filed against politicians, MPs and MLAs between 2009 and 2014 are still at various stages of trial. Hansaria’s report to the SC said 12 special courts set up to fast track trials of 3,956 cases pending against politicians across the country were “wholly inadequate” and 70 more such courts were required to meet the SC’s one-year deadline.
UP topped the list of politicians facing trial as there were 208 sessions cases and 820 magisterial cases pending.
SC, 2018: candidates must advertise their crime record
1993 Mumbai blasts high point of criminal, police, customs officials, politician nexus
Justice System Was Unable To Deal With Unholy Link: SC
The Supreme Court said criminalisation of politics was akin to “termite to the citadel of democracy” and quoted Mumbai serial bomb blast investigations as well as reports by the N N Vohra committee and the Law Commission to emphasise that the criminal justice system was unable to deal with the unholy criminal-politician-bureaucrat-police nexus.
CJI Dipak Misra, writing the unanimous judgment for his colleagues Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, said, “Criminalisation of politics was never an unknown phenomenon in the Indian political system, but its presence was seemingly felt in its strongest form during the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts which was the result of a collaboration of a diffused network of criminal gangs, police and customs officials and their political patrons.”
The bench said the Vohra committee had submitted its report on October 5, 1993, containing inputs from CBI, IB and RAW, which were unanimous that criminal networks were virtually running a parallel government. The Vohra committee had also expressed concern over that “over the past few years, several criminals had been elected to local bodies, state assemblies and Parliament”.
On the direction of the SC, the Law Commission had studied the problem of criminalisation of politics and had given a report in 2014 saying between 2004 and 2014, as many as 18% of candidates contesting national or state elections had criminal cases pending against them and half of them faced serious charges of murder, attempt to murder, rape and corruption as well as charges under MCOCA.
2018: an overview
Asks Parl To Bar Criminals From Contesting Polls
In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court directed that election candidates, after filing their nominations, should repeatedly make declarations in print and electronic media at the constituency level about any criminal antecedents even as it stopped short of debarring those charged with heinous crimes from contesting polls.
The court recommended that Parliament urgently enact legislation to prevent tainted criminals from becoming lawmakers and while it did not change the law, it hit on the innovative method of getting candidates and their parties to publicise pending criminal cases that often remain encased in election affidavits.
A Constitution bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said the “self publicity” would help curb criminalisation of politics.
Court asks candidates to inform party about criminal cases
The Supreme Court called the criminalisation of politics a termite eating into the edifice of constitutional governance. Summing up the court’s concerns, the CJI said, “The country feels agonised 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”.
Writing a 100-page unanimous judgment for the bench, CJI Misra said, “In a multi-party democracy, where members are elected on party lines and are subject to party discipline, we recommend to Parliament to bring out a strong law whereby it is mandatory for political parties to revoke membership of persons against whom charges are framed in heinous and grievous offences and not to set up such persons in elections, both for Parliament and state assemblies.
“This, in our attentive and plausible view, would go a long way in achieving decriminalisation of politics and usher in an era of immaculate, spotless, unsullied and virtuous constitutional democracy.”
‘SC Can’t usurp [legislature’s] powers’
The SC had wished to ban those accused of serious crimes from contesting elections or put them at a disadvantage by depriving them of their party symbol, but gave up these options to curb criminalisation of politics by saying judiciary could not “usurp powers which it does not have”.
A bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra had deliberated on two possible options to stop tainted candidates from contesting elections — one, disqualify a person against whom a trial court frames charges in a serious offence and, two, order the Election Commission to deprive a tainted candidate from using the party’s poll symbol.
Attorney general K K Venugopal had argued that the first option amounted to both breaching the golden principle — ‘innocent till pronounced guilty’ — as well as entering the legislative domain to provide for disqualification in addition to those prescribed by Parliament in the Representation of the People Act.
The SC was caught in a bind, tasked to find a balance between maintaining purity of governance by curbing criminalisation of politics and the danger of foraying into legislature’s domain. While ordering candidates to advertise in media about their criminal antecedents, it refrained from crossing the ‘lakshman rekha’ into the legislative arena. Referring to Law Commission’s recommendation to the government to frame a law to debar a person from contesting if a court framed charges against her/him in a serious offence, the CJI Misra led bench said, “These recommendations for proposed amendment never saw the light of day in the form of a law enacted by a competent legislature but it vividly exhibits the concern of society about the progressing trend of criminalisation in politics that has the proclivity and the propensity to send shivers down the spine of a constitutional democracy.”
SC 2020: Can’t take action against criminal candidates; but parties should justify fielding them
The Supreme Court turned down Election Commission’s stand for taking action against candidates facing criminal charges and political parties for fielding them, but endorsed the poll watchdog’s suggestion that a party which chooses to field a candidate with criminal background should mandatorily spell out reasons justifying its choice.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat said it is in agreement with the EC’s suggestion that political parties be directed to publish the credentials, achievements and criminal antecedents of candidates in newspapers, social media platforms and the party’s website along with the reason for preferring a candidate facing criminal cases.
“It shall be mandatory for all political parties to upload on their websites details of individuals with criminal antecedents, who have been selected as candidates, along with reasons why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected. The reasons shall have to (provide) qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned and winnability shall not be sufficient justification,” the Commission said.
Though political parties might address this requirement by noting that the candidate faces politically coloured cases, the condition does force parties to place their reasons on record. Perhaps, the expectation seems to be that the embarrassment over having too many criminals on its slate might impel parties to be more discriminating in the selection of its candidates.
The court’s order also reflects limitations of efforts to keep “tainted” candidates off the ballot, given presumption of innocence until convicted. Also, the task of separating “minor” infractions like arrests during protests and dharnas and more serious criminal charges can present a different set of problems.
The bench also took into account opponents resorting to malicious litigation to get a candidate benched-.“Cases with political overtones get filed and it is easy to get charges framed against a political opponent by slapping sedition charges and accusing them of being anti-national. We have to be careful as you may knock out a good candidate out of election. It would become an instrument of oppression. If charges are framed on the last date of nomination, the aggrieved candidate would be remedy-less. We have to be keenly aware about those situations,” the bench said.
The EC’s suggestion was filed in compliance of an apex court order asking its counsel and senior advocate Vikas Singh to sit with senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for petitioner and BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, and frame a joint proposal. The court said criminalisation of politics continues unabated and something had to be done in national interest to deal with the menace.
The Commission further said political parties must put all information in public domain about a candidate within 48 hours of nominating him and the party must also submit a report regarding publication within 24 hours. Emphasising the need to curb political parties from fielding tainted people, the Commission said there has been an alarming increase in the number of criminals in politics and told the bench that 24% of MPs had criminal background in 2004 but the number went up to 30% in 2009, 34 % in 2014 and the present Parliament as many as 43%MPs with grave criminal cases pending against them.
The bench disagreed with the suggestion that the poll panel be empowered to take action against the political party and a candidate under Article 324, including cancelling the nomination in case of non-compliance.
SC 2021: Notify EC about criminal antecedents of candidates
In an unprecedented step, the Supreme Court fined BJP, Congress, JDU, LJP, CPM, CPI, NCP, RJD and RLSP between Rs 1 to 5 lakh for violating its February 13, 2020 order, which mandated notifying the Election Commission about criminal antecedents of candidates and publicising the information in media to enable voters to make an informed choice.
The order was violated by almost all parties during Bihar polls. BSP was an exception as it substantially complied with the SC’s mandate and escaped getting penalised at the hands of a bench of Justices R F Nariman and B R Gavai.
It found CPM and NCP, in particular, to have grossly violated its order and imposed fine of Rs 5 lakh each on them. BJP, JDU, RJD, LJP, INC, CPI and RLSP were directed to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh each.
The bench said it is very disturbing that “the percentage of winning candidates having criminal antecedents has jumped to 68% of the total number of candidates who won as MLAs — 163 out of 241. This was a 10% rise from the assembly elections of 2015 where the percentage of winning candidates having criminal antecedents to the total number of winning candidates stood at 58%”.
“Equally disturbing is the fact that 51% of winning candidates have serious criminal cases against them i.e. cases related to murder, kidnapping, attempt to murder, crime against women including rape, etc,” the bench said.
The bench said money from the fund, created through deposition of fines by the parties, would be utilised by the EC to “carry out an extensive awareness campaign to make every voter aware about his right to know and the availability of information regarding criminal antecedents of all contesting candidates”
In its February 13, 2020, order, the SC made it mandatory for political parties to upload on their website detailed information on individuals with pending criminal cases who have been selected as candidates, along with the reasons for such selection, and also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents were passed over.
The court found CPM and NCP, in particular, to have grossly violated its Feb 2020 order and imposed fine of Rs 5 lakh each on them. BJP, JDU, RJD, LJP, INC, CPI & RLSP were directed to pay Rs 1 lakh each
Criminals in politics are i) richer and ii) more likely to get re-elected
Bigger the criminal charge, fatter the politician’s wallet
Tainted Netas Win More Elections
Himanshi Dhawan TNN
The Times of India 2013/07/30
New Delhi: Money and muscle power not only help to win elections but also help in making politics a rather profitable affair. An analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) for the last decade shows that 62,847 candidates had average assets of Rs 1.37 crore. But candidates who won elections had average assets of Rs 3.83 crore.
What’s more interesting is that the wealth of legislators who faced criminal cases rose even more — to Rs 4.30 crore — and MPs and MLAs facing serious pending charges like murder, kidnapping and rape were on top of the heap with average assets of Rs 4.38 crore.
Not only do candidates who combine the cocktail of politics, criminality and crores have a higher chance of re-contesting, they also have a better record of winning elections than candidates with a clean record, says the study. The study by ADR — a thinktank working on poll reforms — is based on affidavits filed by candidates before the Election Commission .
Of the 62,847 parliamentary and assembly candidates since 2004, 11,063 or 18% have criminal cases against them. Of these, 8% or 5,253 have declared ‘serious’ criminal cases.
CRIME PAYS FOR SOME? (statistics)
Rs.1.37cr: Average assets of 62,847 candidates who have contested MP and MLA elections since 2004
Rs.3.83cr: Average assets of victorious candidates
Rs.4.30 cr: Average wealth of MPs and MLAs who face criminal charges
4.38 cr: Average wealth of legislators facing serious charges like murder, kidnapping & rape
18%: Number of candidates facing criminal cases
8%: Number of candidates facing serious criminal cases
RS seat goes for 100cr: Cong MP
Congres MP from Haryana Birender Singh said big money was buying seats in Rajya Sabha, training focus on the malaise gripping politics. Singh is reported to have said he knew a person who had kept Rs 100 crore to become an RS MP but managed to achieve his objective with Rs 80 crore. “Not one, but I can tell you 20 (such) people,” he said. The opposition accused the Congres of “cutting deals”.
‘74% tainted candidates got a second chance’
Speaking on the study, ADR’s professor Trilochan Shastry said, “Criminalization is a fact which can’t be denied. Money plays a big role in elections and criminalization makes it worse.”
ADR also exposed the doublespeak of political parties. The analysis of criminal records of 4,181 repeat candidates shows that 1,072 of them had a criminal case the first time they contested an election and 788 had cases the second time also. This indicates that political parties gave tickets to 74% of candidates with criminal records the second time despite being aware of their dubious backgrounds.
Of the 4,181 candidates who contested more than once, 3,173 showed an increase in wealth. While the average assets of re-contesting candidates went up to Rs 2.34 crore, the average assets of the 4,181 candidates with criminal records grew from Rs 1.74 crore to Rs 4.08 crore.
The assets of all recontesting candidates have grown — to Rs 2.85 crore on average. This translates to 134% growth in declared wealth in less than five years. About 1,615 of the 4,181 candidates showed an increase of over 200%, 684 an increase of over 500%, while assets of 317 candidates increased by over 1000%.
In a break-up of political parties, 75% of Shiv Sena MPs and MLAs since 2004 have declared criminal cases against them, followed by the RJD with 46% such candidates and the JD(U) with 44%. The BJP and the Congres were at 31% and 22% respectively.
The extent of the problem
As in December 2021
New Delhi: Despite the apex court’s directions for setting up of special courts to hold expeditious trial against MPs and MLAs who are facing criminal cases, the number of pending cases are, however, increasing and as per the data filed in the Supreme Court there are 4,984 cases pending against lawmakers out of which the largest number of cases at 1,339 are from Uttar Pradesh followed by Bihar where 571cases are going on. Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who is assisting the apex court in the matter of expeditious trial against lawmakers, filed his report in the court and informed that the number of pendency is increasing since 2018 when the court passed the direction for setting up of special courts. He said the growing number of cases indicates increasing criminalisation of electoral politics. “It is submitted that despite a series of directions by this Court and continuous monitoring, as many as 4,984 cases are pending out of which 1,899 cases are more than 5 years old. It may be noted
that the total number of cases pending as on December 2018 were 4,110; and as on October 2020 were 4,859. Even after disposal of 2,775 cases after December 04, 2018, the cases against MPs/ MLAs have increased from 4,122 to 4,984. This shows that more and more persons with criminal antecedents are occupying the seats in the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies. It is of utmost necessity that urgent and stringent steps are taken for expeditious disposal of pending criminal cases,” he said.
According to the report, which provided state-wise data on cases, Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 1,339 cases pending for final disposal as on December 1, 2021, whereas in December 2018, 992 cases were pending, and in October 2020, 1,374 cases were pend- ing. In Bihar, in December 2018 there were 304 cases pending, which rose to 557 in October 2020, and then 571 in December 2021. Out of 571 cases, 341 cases are pending before magistrate courts and 68 cases before sessions judges.
He said the courts dealing with cases against MPs/MLAs should exclusively try only these cases on day-to-day basis and other cases would be taken up only after trials of such cases are over. “Both the prosecution and defence shall cooperate with the trial of the case and no adjournment shall be granted. In case, the public prosecutor and/or the prosecution fail to co-operate in the expeditious trial, the matter shall be reported to the Chief Secretary of the State who will take necessary remedial measures. In case, the accused delays the trial, his bail shall be cancelled,” he said in his report.
He said that the trial court must send a report on each of the cases where trial has been pending for more than five years before the respective HC, giving the reasons for delay and suggest remedial measures. “The central government will provide funds for ensuring smooth functioning of courts through virtual mode. . . ,” the report said.
Pendency (in years) of criminal cases against MPs
50 MPs have criminal cases pending against them for more than 10 years
Ashish Tripathi,TNN | Mar 11, 2014
LUCKNOW: Two MPs from UP figure among the top eight parliamentarians against whom criminal cases are pending for more than 20 years in the law courts, reveals an analysis done by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-government body working for transparency and probity in elections.
The two MPs are BJP's Ramakant Yadav from Azamgarh, and SP's Ramkishun from Chandauli. Yadav is an accused in a murder case which is pending in the court for the past 25 years. Ramkishun is accused in a robbery case pending for the past 24 years.
The ADR in association with the National Election Watch (NEW) did the analysis following the directions of the Supreme Court. The SC on Monday had directed that the criminal cases against MPs and MLAs be completed within a year from the date of framing of charges by the trial court.
Types of criminal cases against MPs
The ADR and NEW analyzed the affidavits of the Lok Sabha MPs elected in 2009. It found that 50 Lok Sabha MPs from 2009 have a total of 136 criminal cases pending against them for ten years or more. Similarly, 30 Lok Sabha MPs have a total of 58 serious criminal cases pending against them for ten years or more.
The study also revealed that there are five Lok Sabha MPs who have declared a total of 14 cases of murder which have been pending for ten years or more. Kameshwar Baitha of JMM has declared 10 cases of murder against himself which have been pending for an average of 12 years. Guddu Premchand of Cogress from Ujjain Constituency, Madhya Pradesh, has declared a case of murder which has been pending 29 years.
Further, there are nine Lok Sabha MPs who have a total of 14 cases of attempt to murder against them which have been pending for more than 10 years. Kameshwar Baitha of JMM has six cases of attempt to murder against him which have been pending for an average of 11 years. Venugopala Reddy Modugula of TDP from Narasaraopet vonstituency has a case of attempt to murder which has been pending for 23 years.
There are 20 Lok Sabha MPs who have declared a total of 30 cases of kidnapping and wrongful confinement which have been pending for 10 years or more. Kameshwar Baitha of JMM has declared seven cases of kidnapping and wrongful confinement which have been pending for an average of 14 years. Kalmadi Suresh of Cogress from Pune Constituency has declared a case of wrongful confinement for three or more days which has been pending for 28 years.
There are four Lok Sabha MPs who have declared a total of four cases of robbery and dacoity which have been pending for more than 10 years.
The ADR has also issued an appeal for the people: "While the judiciary has taken very important steps including July 10 2013 judgment which debarred elected representatives from continuing in office after conviction to decriminalize politics, political parties have continued to field candidates with serious criminal cases because of their 'winnability' factor. In this scenario, the role of citizens becomes pre-eminent. The upcoming Lok Sabha elections gives us the opportunity to elect clean and more accountable MPs."
Serious criminal cases pending for the maximum duration:
29 years Murder: Guddu Premchand of Cogress from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh 28 years
Rioting and Theft: Adhikari Sisir Kumar of AITC from Kanthi, West Bengal
25 years Murder: Ramakant Yadav of BJP from Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh
24 years Attempt to Commit Robbery: Ramkishun of SP from Chandauli, Uttar Pradesh. Concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war: Gandhi Dilipkumar Mansukhlal of BJP from Ahmednagar, Maharashtra.
23 years Attempt to Murder: Venugopala Reddy Modugula of TDP from Narasaraopet, Andhra Pradesh.
20 years Murder: Kameshwar Baitha of JMM from Palamau Constituency, Jharkhand.
Attempt to Murder: Abdul Mannan Hossain of Cogress from Murshidabad, West Bengal
Trials against MPs in serious cases continue for 7 years on an average
Himanshi Dhawan | TNN
New Delhi: Cases of murder or kidnapping against parliamentarians remain pending in trial courts for an average of 7 years and if you’re Ujjain MP Guddu Premchand, it could even be 29 years.
In the current Lok Sabha, 30 parliamentarians charged with serious offences like murder are yet to stand trial for the last 10 years, an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms has found. These are among the 76 MPs facing serious criminal charges.
No wonder then that the one-year deadline set by the Supreme Court to try legislators with serious criminal charges has left politicians a worried lot. Congres parliamentarian Premchand has a case of murder pending against him for the longest period of time, 29 years, according to ADR.
Premchand in a statement denied the charge, saying he had no pending cases against him and the report was an effort to malign his political image. ADR’s data is based on 2009 election affidavits filed by candidates with the Election Commission and TOI has not verified it independently.
Among other MPs who have long pending cases against them include Trinamool MP from Kanthi in West Bengal Sisir Kumar Adhikari who has cases of riot and theft pending since 28 years while BJP’s Ramakant Yadav from Azamgarh in UP has a case of murder pending against him for the last 25 years.
SP’s Ramkishun was accused of attempted robbery 24 years ago while BJP MP Dilipkumar Mansukhlal Gandhi from Maharashtra has a case of concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage a war for a similar period. This list includes Congres MP from Pune Suresh Kalmadi who has a case of wrongful confinement for three or more days which has been pending for 28 years.
Andhra Pradesh’s Venugopal Reddy Modugula has a 23-year-old case of attempt to murder while Kameshwar Baitha of JMM has a 20-yearold murder case pending against him. Congres MP from West Bengal Abdul Mannan Hossain has a 20-year-old case of attempt to murder pending against him.
There are 14 Lok Sabha MPs who occupy a special place in the hall of shame with 14 cases of murder or attempt to murder which have been pending for 10 years or more against them. These include Baitha and Guddu Premchand.
These are followed closely by 20 MPs who have declared a total of 30 cases of kidnapping and wrongful confinement which have been pending for 10 years or more. There are four Lok Sabha MPs who have declared a total of four cases of robbery and dacoity which have been pending for more than 10 years.
Measures taken to tackle the problem
MP to display candidates' crime record at polling booths
EC To Carry Out Drive During Civic & Panchayat Polls on Aug 11
Polling stations in the upcoming civic election will have large flex hoardings displaying the candidates' criminal records, assets and liabilities. MP is second state after Maharashtra to take such an initiative which aims to discourage criminal elements from entering politics.
A circular on this has been issued by Madhya Pradesh Election Commission secretary Sunita Tripathi to all district collectors.Voting for 37 civic bodies in 15 districts and panchayats in all 51districts will be held through EVM on August 11.
“Voters have a right to know the details that candidates file in their affidavits to the Election Commis sion. We will be putting up flex hoardings outside polling stations displaying the criminal records of candidates,“ she said.
Activists fighting for voter rights cheered the decision. “Voters will now be able to check the candidates' antecedents before they cast their ballot. We welcome it because we have been demanding informed choice for a long time. Other states should also implement this. It is the responsibility of voters to stop criminals from entering politics,“ Association for Democratic Reforms Madhya Pradesh convener Rolly Shivhare told.
The SEC plans to publish this information through newspapers advertisements also -again, a first. Polling officials will work closely with the income tax department and banks to keep a watch on candidates' expenditure, say sources. The same information will be shared on the website of the civic body and published in newspapers. The format has been given to corporations, that have been asked to ensure that these boards are put up. Many candidates are upset, calling it an invasion of privacy . Some feel it will bias voters into forming a negative opinion. None of them would agree to be named, but a BJP leader said displaying such details outside the polling station “may be a risk to the candidates“. “Voters may form an opinion by seeing this information and forget the work of the candidate,“ he said. Voters, however, seem pleased. “It will make us easy to select the candidate we want to vote for,“ Pramod Yadav, a businessman said.This is for the first time that EC had also started the option of online nomination filing for candidates. Specialized software OLIN has been made available to all districts going to the polls.
Parliament, not Judiciary can prohibit
The Times of India, Feb 19 2015
Parliament, not us, can bar tainted netas from contesting polls: SC
The Supreme Court said the Judiciary could not restrain tainted people from contesting elections as it falls under the legislature's domain, which alone was competent to enact a law on this issue. A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu said the idea of restraining people against whom charges of heinous offence has been framed looked “attractive and noble“ but the court has its limitations.
“In the name of judicial activism, we cannot enter into an area belonging to Parliament. Separation of pow er is a basic structure of Constitution and we must respect it,“ the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and Arun Mishra, said. “It is for Parliament to decide.They know how to run the country and who should run for election. We should not step in,“ it added.
Additional solicitor general Maninder Singh said the issue had already been settled by a constitution bench judgment of the apex court, which had refused to restrain the government from appointing tainted MPs and MLAs as ministers and left the matter to the conscience of the prime minister and chief ministers.
Backing the ASG's submission, the bench said when the constitution bench had refused to pass an order against appointment of tainted representatives in the council of ministers, how it could pass an order pre venting tainted persons from contesting elections.
The bench also said that in criminal jurisprudence, a person is presumed innocent till he is convicted and his right to contest elections cannot be curtailed just because charges were framed against him.
Govt opposes lifelong poll ban for convicts
The Centre told the Supreme Court that it was not in favour of banning convicted persons from contesting elections for life and said it had set up a high-level task force to frame a roadmap for implementation of Law Commission's recommendations on electoral reforms, including regulation of election expenses and paid news.
The Centre said the petitioner's plea for a life ban on convicted persons was unwarranted as Representation of the People Act rightly put a six-year ban to contest from the date of release of the convict from jail. “The provision in the RP Act serves the purpose of curbing entry of persons with criminal antecedents into political arena,“ it said. In an affidavit submitted to a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Naveen Sinha, the Centre said, “Legislative department has constituted a task force comprising senior officers to examine and frame a roadmap for implementation or otherwise of various recommendations made by the Law Commission in its 255th report.“
The Centre said the Law Commission's report, submitted to the government in March 2015, was an exhaustive study on various aspects of electoral reforms including financing of elections, regulation of inner-party democracy in political parties, paid news and political advertising and setting up of special courts to expeditiously decide petitions challenging election of candidates.
The affidavit, settled by additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, said the government was conscious of the need for electoral reforms in the country . It said, “However, electoral reforms is a complex, continuous, long drawn and comprehensive process and the Union of India thro ugh legislative department is taking all possible action to deliberate upon the measures of electoral reforms required in our country through various forums like consultations, meetings, e-views etc with all stakeholders including political parties, jurists, members of public and appropriate modifications and additions of the relevant laws will be made from time to time.“
Terming this to be a legislative exercise, the Centre told the court that judicial intervention was unwarranted in electoral reforms, an issue brought before the court by a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay . “The judiciary may step in to fill the gaps only where there is a statutory vacuum, but not where a valid law already occupies field,“ it said.
Trials against tainted MPs and MLAs to be completed within a year: SC
Finish trial against tainted MPs and MLAs in a year: SC
Cases Of Graft, Heinous Crimes Fast-Tracked
Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN
New Delhi: After ordering disqualification of MPs and MLAs immediately after conviction for heinous offences, the Supreme Court on Monday took a second big step towards cleansing the political process by directing that trial proceedings in cases of corruption and serious crimes against elected representatives must be completed within a year.
The apex court’s July 10, 2013 judgment had robbed elected representatives of the benefit under Section 8(4) of Representative of People Act which allowed them to save their membership in respective Houses by merely filing an appeal within three months of the order of conviction.
However, “tainted” MPs and MLAs drew some comfort from the snail-paced judicial process, hoping that cases against them would linger indefinitely, or that they could use delaying tactics in order to prevent the court from reaching a final conclusion about their alleged guilt and pronounce a judgment.
The order, passed by a bench of Justices R M Lodha and Kurian Joseph on Monday, ends the last hope of MPs and MLAs of evading early adjudication and a possible conviction resulting in a sentence of two years or more, which generally follows in a corruption case or in serious offences. CLEANING UP POLITICS
Trial proceedings in cases of corruption and serious crimes against MPs and MLAs will have to be completed within a year of charges being framed
All trial courts must adhere to one-year deadline. If they overshoot, they’ll have to give written explanation to chief justice of HC concerned
On July 10, 2013, SC had ruled that MPs/MLAs would immediately lose their seat in case of conviction
But lawmakers facing cases could still hope for them to drag on for years. The SC has now closed this loophole 76 MPs face serious charges
The SC order could adversely impact the future of many politicians. As many as 76 (14%) of the 543 MPs have serious charges pending against them. Similarly, 1,258 or 31% of the total 4,032 MLAs across India have criminal cases against them, with 14% facing serious charges. P 15 Deadline to start after framing of charges
In an interim order on a PIL by NGO ‘Public Interest Foundation’, an SC bench said, “Where sitting MPs and MLAs are facing corruption cases and other serious offences, the trial will be completed expeditiously on a day-today basis and in no instance later than one year from the date of framing of charges.”
This means, those who get elected in the coming general elections and have pending criminal and corruption cases against them, the verdict will be out before May next year. If found guilty and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment, they will immediately lose their membership. This order will also have a sanitizing effect on political parties and ensure that they do not field candidates with criminal background.
The bench directed all trial courts, which are hearing cases of corruption and serious offences against MPs and MLAs, to strictly adhere to the one-year limit from framing of charges and warned that if they overshot the deadline, then they would have to give written explanation to the chief justice of the high court concerned.
“In extraordinary circumstances, where the trial court is not being able to conclude the trial within one year of framing charges, it would submit a report to the chief justice of the concerned HC indicating the special reasons for the delay. The chief justice may issue appropriate directions to the concerned court for extension of time for conclusion of trial,” said Justices Lodha and Joseph after additional solicitor general Paras Kuad agreed with the court’s view on behalf of the Centre.
The bench took framing of charge as the starting point for fixing one-year time period for completion of trial keeping in mind the law commission’s recommendation that filing of chargesheet “is not an appropriate stage to introduce electoral disqualifications”.
The commission said there was not sufficient application of judicial mind to the charges levelled by the investigating agency at the time of filing of chargesheet.
However, it recommended that framing of charges involved application of judicial mind to the charges and evidence.
The commission in its recommendation to the Union government on February 24 proposed disqualification of MPs and MLAs if a trial court framed charges against them in cases of corruption or heinous offences.
Time limit on netas’ trials at odds with earlier SC ruling?
7-Judge Bench Had Said Such A Bar Wasn’t Judicially Permissible
Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN
New Delhi: By fixing a oneyear limit for completion of trial against elected representatives, did a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court overstep a seven-judge constitution bench ruling that no outer limit could be set for conclusion of criminal proceedings?
There were several judgments before 2002, in which different benches of the apex court had fixed definite time periods for completion of trial and had ordered that if it overshot the limit, the trial would come to an end and the accused would be acquitted.
All these judgments and their correctness were tested by a seven-judge bench in P Ramachandra Rao vs State of Karnataka [(2002) 4 SCC 578]. The bench ruled, “It is neither advisable, nor feasible, nor judicially permissible to draw or prescribe an outer limit for conclusion of all criminal proceedings.
“The time limits or bars of limitation prescribed in the several directions made in Common Cause (I), Raj Deo Sharma (I) and Raj Deo Sharma (II) could not have been so prescribed or drawn and are not good law. The criminal courts are not obliged to terminate trial or criminal proceedings merely on account of lapse of time, as prescribed by the directions made in Common Cause case (I), Raj Deo Sharma case (I) and (II). Such time limits cannot and will not by themselves be treated by any court as a bar to further continuance of the trial or proceedings and as mandatorily obliging the court to terminate the same and acquit or discharge the accused.”
Monday’s order by a bench of Justices R M Lodha and Kurian Joseph stayed within the parameters laid down in the seven-judge bench’s judgment by clarifying that corruption case and heinous offence trial proceedings against MPs and MLAs would not be terminated on expiry of the oneyear period.
It said if under extraordinary circumstances the trial proceedings could not be completed within the prescribed one-year time limit, the trial judge would send a report to the chief justice of the high court concerned explaining reasons for non-completion of proceedings. The bench said the chief justice would give appropriate directions after going through the trial judge’s report.
Justices Lodha and Joseph said it was the right of every accused in criminal case to get expeditious trial. “For that to become a reality, the governments must provide more number of judges,” it said and requested additional solicitor general Paras Kuhad to impress upon the government to increase the strength of trial judges.
It said in some countries the judge to population ratio was 50 per lakh but in India it was abysmally low at 16 per million (10 lakh). The budgetary allocation too was meagre, it said. “All trials should be completed in one year, why only for MPs and MLAs? But for that the governments need to give more funds and provide adequate judicial infrastructure,” it said.
SC: Can’t debar convicted netas from heading parties
The Supreme Court refused to entertain a plea that sought to debar people who have been convicted in criminal cases and cannot contest elections from heading or floating political parties. A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked the petitioner, advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, “How far can the courts go? Let the government and Parliament look into this. Can we stop a convicted person from heading a political party? Will it not be incongruent with the right to free speech? Can the court restrain a convicted person from propagating his political views?”
The petitioner said at present a person convicted for serious criminal offences can form a political party and become party president even after being barred from contesting elections as a candidate. “For instance, Lalu Prasad, O P Chautala and Sasikala have been convicted of major criminal offences but still hold the highest post in political parties,” Upadhyay said.
No law allows EC to de-register parties
Similarly, courts have framed charges in serious cases against Suresh Kalmadi, A Raja, Jagan Reddy, Madhu Koda, Ashok Chavan, Akbaruddin Owaisi, Kanimozhi, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Virbhadra Singh, Mukhtar Ansari, Mohammad Shahabuddin, Suraj Bhan Singh, Anand Mohan Singh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Brijesh Singh etc. Yet, they are holding political posts and wielding political power,” he said.
But the court’s resoluteness in protecting the right to free speech, including that of convicted people, was evident to the courtroom. The petitioner’s counsel, senior advocates Sidharth Luthra and Sajan Poovaiya, deftly changed tack and said the SC should examine provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which grants the Election Commission the power to register a political party without the corresponding power to de-register them.
Luthra said proliferation of political parties in the country has been a cause for concern for some decades and the national committee for review of the working of the Constitution suggested a statutory framework for registration and de-registration of political parties. More than a decade ago in 2004, “even the Election Commission had proposed an amendment to Section 29A of the RP Act to authorise it to issue appropriate orders to regulate registration/de-registration of parties,” he said.
The SC agreed to examine the issue pertaining to empowering EC to de-register political parties if the situation so warranted because of their wrongdoings and sought responses from the Centre and EC.
In 2016, EC de-listed political parties which existed only on paper and had not contested any local or national elections since 2005. This was done through the use of special powers and the decision could be contested in court. There no provision that allows EC to de-register political parties.
If it’s any consolation…the position in the First World
2018: 5 alleged criminals reelected
The 2018 midterm elections saw several historic firsts, including large numbers of women and the first Native American and Muslim women being elected to Congress. However, another kind of group also had a good showing— candidates accused or convicted of crimes.
Voters reelected two Republican Congressmen, Chris Collins of New York and Duncan Hunter of California, who are facing federal indictments for alleged insider trading and campaign corruption, respectively.
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, whose trial on federal bribery and fraud charges resulted in a hung jury, was also reelected.
Texans reelected Attorney General Ken Paxton as their top cop, even though he is facing criminal charges for securities fraud.
And in Montana, voters reelected Rep. Greg Gianforte despite his conviction for misdemeanor assault after body-slamming a journalist.
THE YEAR-WISE POSITION (in India)
2012-14: Ministers allegedly involved in criminal cases
90% of T-ministers face criminal charges
TIMES NEWS NETWORK The Times of India Aug 30 2014
12 Union Ministers Have Pending Criminal Cases
About 44 of the 194 state cabinet ministers from 13 Assemblies (where elections were conducted in the last two years: 2012-14) and 12 out of 45 Union ministers [in 2014] have criminal cases pending against them.
The figures have been arrived at by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch which analysed the election affidavits of 239 of the 245 ministers.
In the states, 26 or 13% ministers have serious criminal charges, including rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping or electoral violations against them.
For instance, there are two ministers from BJP in the Rajasthan cabinet -Gulab Chand Kataria and Rajendra Rathore -with cases of murder pending against them. Odisha's Prafulla Kumar Mallik (BJD) also faces a kidnapping charge.
TDP's Ganta Srinivas Rao from Andhra and TRS ministers Thanneeru Harish Rao, Eatala Rajender and Guntakandla Jagadish Reddy from Telangana have declared that attempt to murder cases are pending against them.
Incidentally, Telangana has the highest percentage -90 -of ministers facing criminal charges. India's newest state is followed by Andhra Pradesh, where more than half of the ministers have criminal cases (56%), followed by Karnataka (34%) and Odisha (27%).
In fact, the only two chief ministers who face criminal charges come from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh: K Chandrasekhar Rao and N Chandrababu Naidu.
States where no ministers face criminal charges include Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
States that were considered for the report include Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura and Telangana.
2015: Pending cases, assets
The Times of India, Aug 06, 2016
34% of state mantris face criminal cases
As many as 34% of ministers in states have declared criminal cases pending against themselves, while 76% are crorepatis with average assets of Rs 8.59 crore, finds a new study. Declarations of a total of 609 ministers out of 620 have been analysed from 29 state assemblies and two Union Territories by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
Among the ministers with highest assets include Ponguru Narayana of Telugu Desam Party with total assets of Rs 496 crore, followed by D K Shivakumar of Congress (Rs 251crore).
Out of the 609 state ministers whose declarations were analysed, 210 (34%) ministers have criminal cases against their names. 24 (31%) out of 78 ministers in the Centre, have declared criminal cases against themselves.
113 ministers from state assemblies have declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women.
Out of the 78 ministers in the Centre whose declarations were analysed, 14 have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, the study said.
The states with highest percentage of ministers with serious criminal cases include nine ministers from Jharkhand, four from Delhi, nine from Telangana, 18 from Maharashtra, 11 from Bihar and two from Uttarakhand.
The average assets per minister from state assemblies is Rs 8.59 crore. Compared to this, the average assets of the Union council of ministers is Rs 12.94 crore.
Also, the average assets of ministers with declared criminal cases is Rs 9.52 crore, while the average assets of ministers with no criminal cases is Rs 8.10 crore.
The state with the highest average assets per minister is Andhra Pradesh (20 ministers) with average assets of Rs 45.49 crore, followed by Karnataka (31 ministers) with average assets of Rs 36.96 crore and Arunachal Pradesh (7 ministers) with average assets of Rs 32.62 crore.
The state with the lowest average assets of ministers is Tripura (12 ministers) with average assets of Rs 31.67 lakh. All state council of ministers analysed from Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab and Puducherry are crorepatis.They are followed by 97% ministers of Karnataka and 92% from Rajasthan, Goa, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh who have also declared assets valued at Rs 1crore and above.
2015: SC-Unseating if criminal cases cancelled
Feb 06 2015
Non-disclosure of pending criminal cases at the time of filing nomination paper can cost an elected member his seat with the Supreme Court ruling that it amounts to corrupt practice and the election must be quashed on that ground. In a landmark verdict, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant held that concealment or suppression of criminal cases tantamounts to “fraud“ with the electorate and it creates an impediment in the free exercise of electoral right.
“As the candidate has the special knowledge of the pending cases where cognizance has been taken or charges have been framed and there is a non-disclosure on his part, it would amount to undue influence and, therefore, the election is to be declared null and void by the Election Tribunal,“ it said.
It said that disclosure of criminal antecedents of a candidate, especially pertaining to heinous or serious offence or offences relating to corruption or moral turpitude at the time of filing of nomination paper, is a “categorical imperative“. The bench said that an informed electorate is the foundation of a vibrant and healthy democracy and they have a right to know about criminal antecedents of people in the fray . It said non-disclosure of criminal cases by a candidate is an attempt to suppress, misguide and keep people in the dark.
“Concealment or sup pression of this nature deprives the voters to make an informed and advised choice as a consequence of which it would come within the compartment of direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere with the free exercise of the right to vote by the electorate, on the part of the candidate,“ it said. “This attempt undeniably and undisputedly is undue influence and, therefore, amounts to corrupt practice,“ it said.
“The attempt has to be perceived as creating an impediment in the mind of a voter, who is expected to vote to make a free, informed and advised choice,“ it said.
2015: No serious charges against MLAs
Feb 12 2015
No Delhi MLAs face murder, rape charges
The new Delhi assembly is `cleaner' compared to its earlier avatar with a dip in the number of legislators with criminal cases, according to an analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms, reports Himanshi Dhawan. Though the percentage of MLAs with criminal cases has dropped marginally from 36% to 34%, none of them have pending serious criminal cases such as rape, kidnapping and murder. Of the 24 MLAs with criminal cases against them, 23 belong to AAP . Of the 70 legislators, 44 (63%) are crorepatis compared to 51 (73%) in 2013.
Haryana, Jharkhand and J&K assemblies, elected in 2014, also saw a drop in the number of MLAs with criminal antecedents.
2015 Assembly also has fewer crorepatis
Feb 12 2015
The 2015 Delhi assembly is cleaner and poorer compared to its 2013 avatar with a dip in the number of crorepati legislators and those with criminal cases. The assembly elected on Tuesday is overwhelmingly dominated by Aam Aadmi Party with 67 members while BJP has three. The percentage of legislators with criminal cases has dropped marginally from 36% to 34% while the figure for crorepatis has come down from 73% to 63%.
Significantly, none of the MLAs have serious criminal cases like rape, kidnapping and murder pending against them.
The analysis by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) is based on affidavits submitted by candidates to the Election Commission.
In contrast, both the number of crorepatis and those with criminal cases increased in the 2014 Maharashtra polls.
While crorepati MLAs increased from 66% in 2009 to 88% in 2014, the number of legislators with criminal background increased from 136 (52%) to 165 (57%) in the same period. Haryana, Jharkhand and J&K assemblies, which were elected in 2014, also saw a drop in the number of legislators with criminal antecedents. However, there was a substantial increase in the number of moneybags in all three. In Delhi, 24 of the 70 MLAs (34%) have declared criminal cases against themselves. Of these, 23 belong to AAP while one is from BJP. This is down from the 2013 assembly when 25 (36%) MLAs declared criminal cases pending against them. In the 2008 Delhi assembly elections, 29 (43%) out of 68 MLAs had declared criminal cases.
No MLA declared heinous criminal cases like murder, rape, attempt to murder and crimes against women. Incidentally, 91 out of 673 candidates with criminal cases, including 60 candidates with charges of heinous crimes pending against them, lost the assembly polls.
Delhi MLAs this time are a shade poorer as well. Of the 70 MLAs, 44 (63%) are crorepatis this year compared to 51 (73%) in 2013 and 47 (69%) in the 2008 polls.
The average assets per MLA has also dipped from Rs 10.83 crore in 2013 to Rs 6.29 crore this time. BJP had won 32 seats compared to AAP's 28 in the 2013 elections.
2015: Trials of chargesheeted lawmaker, pendency
The Times of India, Sep 14 2015
HCs of no help, govt builds own record on tainted netas
A year-and-half after the apex court set a oneyear deadline to complete the trial of all chargesheeted MPs and MLAs, a clueless government has started compiling its own data on the pendency of such cases using affidavits of politicians submitted to the Election Commission wherein they have declared the criminal cases against them. The law ministry had earlier tried to source data from each of the 24 high courts on the status of trial against chargesheeted lawmakers, but it is yet to receive any information.
In a judgment delivered on March 10 last year, the SC had directed fast-tracking the trial of lawmakers against whom charges had been framed, setting a one-year deadline, from the framing of charges, for its completion.
Later, the government had proposed detailed guidelines providing for the setting up of a special cell in each of the HCs to take stock of the pendency of such cases.
As part of the monitoring mechanism, according to the guidelines worked out by the government after the apex court judgment, the district judges were made responsible for monitoring trials, ensuring that they are completed within a year and no unwarranted adjournments are allowed. The pendency or completion of such trials was to be communicated to the HC's special cell, which in turn was to provide this data to the government.
However, over 18 months since, the government has not received any such infor mation from any of the high courts on the completion of trials against elected representatives.
A source said the issue gained urgency after the government received a lot of representations from eminent persons and civil society groups seeking information on the status of pendency of cases against tainted politicians, and queries that sought to know in how many cases the trial had been completed.
According to an analysis of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO working for electoral reforms, the current Lok Sabha has at least 34% representatives who have declared criminal cases against them in affidavits submitted before the EC.
The ADR study further says that at least 112 MPs elected in the 2014 general elections had serious criminal charges against them, including rape, murder, kidnapping and rioting.
The number of politicians with criminal antecedents has only increased over the years, and they have proved to be more successful at the hustings.
2016: Criminal record among MLAs
The Times of India, May 21 2016
ADR: 36% of new MLAs have crime record, 50% crorepatis
More than half the winning candidates in the recently concluded assembly polls in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry are crorepatis and over onethird face criminal cases. Analysis of candidates' affidavits by Association for affidavits by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) found that of the 812 candidates, Puducherry had the maximum number of crorepatis (83%) followed by Tamil Nadu (76%). While Assam boasted of more than half its legislators in the crorepati club (57%), Kerala has 44% followed by West Bengal with 34% crorepatis.
The number of crorepatis have seen an upward spike. In 2011, Assam had 39% of crorepati MLAs, while Kerala had 25%, Puducherry (63%), Tamil Nadu (51%) and West Bengal (15%). In Puducherry , 30 MLAs were analysed of which 25 are crorepatis, while in Tamil Nadu 223 MLAs were analysed, with 170 emerging as crorepatis this year. A total of 186 MLAs have declared that they have never filed income tax returns. Kerala has the maximum percentage (60%) of MLAs who have not filed income tax returns, followed by West Bengal (20%).
About 36% (294) of the winning candidates have criminal cases against them. Of these, 176 have declared serious criminal cases like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and robbery . Kerala had the maximum number of legislators with criminal cases (62%) followed by Puducherry and WB at 37% and Tamil Nadu at 34%. WB, however, had the maximum number of MLAs with serious criminal cases (32%). Puducherry has the hig hest average assets (Rs 13.45 crore) of MLAs followed by Tamil Nadu with average assets of Rs 8.21crore and Kerala with average assets of Rs 2.82 crore. The number of women MLAs is only 77 out of 812 analysed in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry assembly elections.
On analysis based on age, the survey said that five MLAs are above 80 years of age, while 38 are aged 71 to 80 years, 187 (61 to 70 years), 278 (51to 60 years), 212 (41to 50 years), 87 (31 to 40 years) and 5 (25 to 30 years).
Feb 2017, Dacoits’ interest in politics
Dacoits who have shown an interest in politics (till Feb 2017)
December 2017: Congress fields more criminals than BJP in Gujarat
An analysis of the affidavits of candidates in both phases of the Gujarat assembly polls has revealed that 38 Congress candidates face serious criminal charges, as compared to only 21candidates in the 2012 elections, showing a jump of 22% in the number of tickets given to such candidates.
The analysis, conducted by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Gujarat Election Watch, compared it to BJP’s candidates, which at 13% remained the same as in the polls of 2012. For 2017 Gujarat elections, out of the total 175 BJP candidates analysed, 23 candidates are facing charges related to murder, attempt to murder, robbery, abduction and rape.
The Congress’ percentage went from 12% to 22%. “In 2012, 21 Congress candidates out of 171, that is 12%, were facing such serious charges. This time, as many as 38 candidates out of 174 candidates, that is 22%, are facing such charges,” the analysis showed. Of the total 851 candidates in fray in the second phase on Dec 14, 822 candidates were analysed. The analysis showed that 101 candidates, accounting for around 12%, were facing criminal cases, including serious charges.
2017, Gujarat: 47 legislators face criminal cases
As many as 47 newly elected members of the Gujarat Assembly have criminal cases pending against them as per their election affidavits, according to a study conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Gujarat Election Watch. The study said 18 (18 per cent) are from 99 BJP MLAs and 25 (32 per cent) out of 77 Congress MLAs have declared criminal cases pending against them. In 2012, there were 57 (31 per cent) MLAs who had declared that criminal cases were pending against them. The analysis was done from their selfsworn affidavits.
Karnataka candidates that faced criminal charges
The ADR survey puts BJP at the top with 83 candidates facing criminal charges. Congress has 59 and JD(S) has 41
The ADR analysis is based on affidavits filed by the candidates
Some 28% of candidates contesting the May 12 elections from three mainstream political parties — the Congress, BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) — are facing criminal cases, according to a recent analysis. The BJP tops the table in terms of candidates with criminal cases against them in the May 12 assembly polls. Of its 224 candidates, 83 (37%) face criminal cases.
The Congress comes in second with 59 (26%) of its 220 candidates embroiled in criminal cases. Of the 199 candidates Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded, 41 (20%) face criminal cases.
An analysis released on Sunday by non-governmental organisation Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed that the number of candidates with criminal cases has gone up to 391 in 2018, from 334 in the 2013 assembly elections. The ADR analysis is based on affidavits filed by the candidates. In all, 391 out of 2,560 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
“People may have expected parties to be law-abiding and show improvement in terms of probity. Contrary to that, political parties have only recorded an upward swing in choosing candidates with criminal backgrounds. Now, it is up to voters to choose the best among the available lot,” said Trilochan Shastry, founder and trustee of ADR.
The BJP scores high even when it comes to choosing candidates with serious criminal cases. A serious criminal case is one in which a convicted person gets at least a five-year jail term. Of the BJP candidates, 58 (26%) face serious criminal charges. The Congress has picked 32 candidates (15%) with serious criminal cases, while the JD(S) has picked 29 (15%) such candidates.
Tripura: CPM is the cleanest
None Of The 57 Faces Any Serious Case
All nine candidates fielded by the Indigenous People’s Front of India for the upcoming Tripura polls have serious criminal cases pending against them. In the latest analyses of candidates’ self-sworn affidavits by the Association of Democratic Reforms, nine of the 51 BJP candidates, three of Congress’ 59 and one of the 24 fielded by Trinamool Congress also have serious criminal cases pending against them.
While none of the ruling CPM candidates have serious case pending against them, two of the 57 candidates have criminal cases against them. Serious criminal cases refer to cases including murder, attempt to murder, corruption or bribery and voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means.
Eighty of the total 297 candidates in the fray have not declared their PAN. Three CPM candidates and eight of BJP have not declared their source of income.
While 35% of BJP candidates have declared themselves as crorepatis, 15% of INC candidates, and 7% of CPM candidates have declared assets worth over a crore. Two candidates of INPT, and one each of IPFT and Trinamool have also declared assets worth more than a crore.
Average assets per Congress candidate is Rs 53.16, for CPM candidate Rs 39.91 lakh, and BJP candidate Rs 1.35 crore. Trinamool candidates have average assets of Rs 9.93 lakh, while INPT and IPFT candidates have average assets worth Rs 36.44 lakh and Rs 23 lakh respectively.
BJP’s Jishnu Devvarma is the richest candidate with assets of over Rs 11 crore, while three candidates of Tripura People’s Party — Khagendra Reang, Parkaroy Reang and Prabin Singha — have declared zero assets.
Karnataka MLAs facing criminal charges
Karnataka MLAs having criminal record, 2018;
MLAs with declared criminal assets; As % of total party MLAs;
MLAs with declared serious criminal charges; As % of total party MLAs;
MLAs with declared cases related to attempt to murder
MLAs with declared cases related to Hate Speech
Party-wise MLAs with criminal cases
MP: Cong candidates have most criminal cases, BJP 2nd
Of all the candidates with criminal cases in this election, Congress accounts for the highest (48%), followed by BJP (30%) and Samajwadi Party (25%), says the Association for Democratic Reforms after analysing affidavits submitted by candidates. More than 17% of the candidates in the fray in 2018 have criminal records — it’s 1% more than the figure for 2013, says ADR, an NGO working for electoral reforms. ADR studied affidavits of 2,716 of the 2,899 candidates and 183 were left out as their affidavits were not clearly scanned, it said in a statement.
Bihar assembly elections
RJD tops list of nominees with criminal background
Political parties have no qualms in fielding candidates with a criminal background, and it is reflected in the 1st phase of Bihar elections as out of 1,064, 328 (31%) candidates have a criminal record. Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) has fielded the most number of candidates with a criminal background (73%), followed by BJP (72%), according to the election watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
According to the report, 244 (23%) candidates have declared serious criminal cases against them. Highlighting other parties, the ADR says that about 24 (59%) out of 41 candidates analysed from LJP have declared criminal cases against themselves and 20 (49%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
The report also noted that 12 (57%) out of 21 candidates analysed from Congress, 15 (43%) out of 35 candidates analysed from JD (U) and eight (31%) out of 26 candidates analysed from BSP have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits. On crime against women, the report notes 29 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women. Out of 29 candidates, 3 candidates have declared cases related to rape. Out of the 1,064 candidates analysed by the watchdog, 375 (35%) are crorepatis. The average assets of candidates contesting in phase 1of the election is Rs 1.2 crore. Of this, 9% of candidates have wealth of Rs 5 crore and above, while 12% have wealth between Rs 2 and Rs 5 crore. Highest asset candidate is RJD’s Anant Kumar Singh. Meanwhile, 5 candidates from various parties have declared zero assets.
The report also analysed the educational qualifications of the candidates and noted that 43% of the candidates had declared their educational qualifications as between Class 5 and Class 12, and 49% as graduates or above. Out of the total candidates, 11% are women.
The watchdog analysed self-sworn affidavits of 1,064 out of 1,066 candidates contesting phase 1 of the election. Talking about the age of the candidates in phase 1, 403 (38%) candidates have declared their age to be between 25 to 40 years while 548 (52%) candidates have declared their age to be between 41 to 60 years. There are 112(11%) candidates who have declared their age to be between 61 to 80 years.
The Bihar elections will be held in three phases for a total of 243 seats. The results will be announced on November 10. ANI
Criminal cases pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs registered a 17% jump in less than two years, evidencing the nexus of politics with crime, an abnormality the Supreme Court is struggling to curb despite its five-year endeavour to speed up the trials which are long-delayed by the money and muscle powers of elected representatives.
On the eve of an SC bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana resuming hearing after nine months on a PIL filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking speedy trial in cases against MPs and MLAs by setting up of special courts, amicus curiae and senior advocate Vijay Hansaria has submitted a report painting a dismal picture of the status of trials against elected representatives.
In the report submitted with assistance from advocate Sneha Kalita on Monday, Hansaria said the number of criminal cases pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs in December 2018 was 4,122. This has increased to 4,859 in September 2020, registering a jump of 17% in less than two years,he said in the 54-page report. The central agencies, including the CBI, were repeatedly asked by the SC through its orders last year, on September 16, October 6 and November 4, to submit a status report of pending cases being investigated by these agencies. Hansaria said despite repeated directions, the Centre has submitted no such report.
Hansaria also said the SC had been repeatedly asking the Union government about central funded video-conference facilities at the special courts, set up to exclusively try criminal cases against the present and former elected representatives, but it has not yet spelled out its decision on the issue.
The amicus curiae highlighted a trend of state governments attempting to withdraw cases against their party MPs and MLAs, even those booked for serious offences. He said the UP government has sought to withdraw 76 cases against elected representatives, including the Muzaffarnagar riot cases against Sangeet Som, Kapil Dev, Suresh Rana and Sadhvi Prachi. Hansaria quoted a TOI report published on December 17 last year on the move by the Maharashtra government to withdraw political cases against activists lodged prior to January 1, 2020.
Lucknow: Every second MLA elected to the 18th UP legislative assembly in the recent polls has acriminal background, according to data released by Association for Democratic Reforms, reports Arvind Chauhan. Of 403 successful candidates, 205 have declared criminal cases against them, the ADR data showed. And among them, 158 MLAs or 39% of winning candidates have serious criminal cases, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women.
An analysis of affidavits by ADR revealed that five MLAs have been booked for murder, 29 for attempt to mu rder and six have declared cases on crimes against women, including rape.
The data showed 90 of 255 (35%) elected MLAs from BJP have serious criminal cases, followed by 48 of 111 (43 %) from SP, five of eight from RLD, four of six from Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, four of six from Nishad Party, two of 12 from Apna Dal (Sonelal), two each fr om Jansatta Dal Loktantrik and Congress, and one from BSP.
Jalandhar:Half of the newly elected MLAs in Punjab have criminal cases against them, compared to 14% in the previous house.
Twenty-seven (23%) of these MLAs are facing cases for serious offences. One MLA has an FIR against him in a murder case, but his arrest has been stayed by the Punjab and HaryanaHC, while two others are facing cases of attempt to murder. All the three MLAs who are facing these cases are from AAP.
These details have been enumerated in a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Punjab Election Watch at a press conference, addressed by Jaskirat Singh, Parvinder Singh Kitna, and Harpreet Singh.
Out of 92 MLAs of AAP, 52 face such cases, so do three out of 18 MLAs of Congress, two out of three MLAs of SAD, and one of the two MLAs of BJP.
Sheetal Angural, the AAP MLA from Jalandhar West, has the maximum cases, nine, against him, including cases of attempt to murder, abduction, illegal confinement, gambling, and other offences.
Khadur Sahib MLA Manjinder Singh Lalpura has five cases against him. Ajnala AAP MLA Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal’s name figures in an FIR pertaining to a murder case .
Criminals in politics: India