Big push to cleanse politics: Onus on Parliament to stop criminals from entering politics

New Delhi, Sep 25, News24 Bureau: The Supreme Court has equated corruption to terror and has taken a major decision on corrupt politicians. Parliament must ensure that criminals must not come to politics. No bar on criminal antecedents of political leaders, it's Parliament to make laws, said CJI while reading out verdict on PIL seeking to disqualify candidates contesting polls after court frames charges against them.

The SC says that citizens have the right to be informed about the antecedents of their candidates and directs that each candidate shall declare his/her criminal antecedents to the Election Commission in bold letters before contesting an election. The apex court said political parties shall be obligated to put all information about their candidates on their websites.The SC also directs wider publicity, through print and electronic media, antecedents of candidates affiliated to political parties.The court said corruption has become a national economic terror, but candidates cannot be disqualified before the framing of charges. The court said that voters must be aware of the candidates' criminal antecedents before they cast their vote.The court had earlier dubbed criminalisation of politics as a "rot", and said it may consider directing the Election Commission to ask political parties to get their members to disclose criminal cases against them so that electors know how many "alleged crooks" are there in such parties.  

 Here are the main highlights of the observations made by the Supreme Court to clean Indian Politics:

-Parties must be informed of cases-SC can't order disqualification-Voters must be informed of cases-Corruption is the economic terror-Make laws to bar culprits-Parliament must make law-EC form be filled in bold letters-Parties must put information on the net-Onus of reform on Parliament now

This was the verdict which was being closely watched today by all political parties

Big order was expected today on clean politics. The big question today on everyone's mind was: Will the Apex Court take the initiative of cleaning up Indian politics? The need is intense undoubtedly. The court's observation during the hearing clearly was that the culprits should be kept at bay from politics.

In the present scenario, lawmakers are barred under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act from contesting elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.

The Centre has contended that the judiciary should not venture into the legislative arena by creating a pre-condition which would adversely affect the right of the candidates to participate in polls as there was already the RP Act which deals with the issue of disqualification.A five-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had reserved its verdict on August 28 and is slated to pronounce the verdict.The bench, also comprising Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, had earlier indicated that voters have a right to know the antecedents of candidates and the Election Commission could be asked to direct political parties to ensure that persons, facing criminal charges, do not contest on their tickets using their poll symbols.Apex Court's earlier Observation:The apex court had observed earlier that persons facing criminal charges would be free to contest, but they cannot do so on a party ticket under its election symbol.Referring to the concept of presumption of innocence until a person is proven guilty, the Centre had argued that depriving a person from contesting elections on a party ticket would amount to the denial of the right to vote, which also included the right to contest.The Election Commission of India had taken a view which was apparently opposed to the Centre and said the recommendations for decriminalising politics were made by the poll panel and the Law Commission way back in 1997 and 1998, but no action was taken on them.