Criminal Case Analysis 2023 Report on MPs
Recently the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has released the report “Analysis of Current MPs of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha of India 2023”.
Key points of report:
- Criminal cases against sitting MPs: Of the 763 MPs analysed, 40 per cent have declared criminal cases registered against them.
- 25% of the MPs have accepted that serious criminal cases have been registered against them. Such cases include murder, kidnapping, crimes against women etc.
- The highest numbers of MPs with criminal cases are from Kerala. After this are Bihar and Maharashtra.
- According to the report, the average wealth of sitting MPs with criminal cases is higher than that of MPs with non-criminal backgrounds.
- Criminalization of politics (CoP) refers to the entry of criminals, law violators and corrupt persons into the political system of the country.
Following are the reasons for ‘Criminalization of Politics’:
- Growing nexus between political parties and criminals,
- Culture of vote buying and freebies to woo voters,
- Candidates with criminal background have higher chances of winning etc.
Effects of ‘Criminalization of Politics’:
- The quality of governance declines,
- It becomes difficult to conduct free and fair elections;
- Integrity of public servants gets affected etc.
Legal Aspects of Disqualification of Criminal Candidates:
- There is no provision in the Indian Constitution regarding disqualification of any person with criminal tendencies from contesting elections for Parliament or Legislative Assemblies.
- The Representation of the People Act, 1951 mentions the criteria for disqualifying a person from contesting legislative elections.
- Section 8 of the Act does not prevent convicted politicians from contesting elections who are merely on trial and have not yet been proven guilty. It does not matter how serious the allegations against him are.
- There is a provision under Section 8(1) and 8(2) of this Act that if any legislative member (MP or MLA) is involved in crimes like murder, rape, involvement in terrorist activities, then he will be considered ineligible under this section and will be disqualified for a period of 6 years.
‘Major decisions of the Supreme Court to curb criminalization of politics:
- Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India (2018) Case: All candidates must declare their criminal records to the Election Commission of India (ECI) before contesting elections.
- Lily Thomas vs Union of India (2013) Case: If an MP or MLA is sentenced to a minimum of 2 years’ imprisonment for a crime, then in such a situation his membership of the House will be terminated with immediate effect.
Source – The Hindu