Criminals should be barred from contesting polls: Gopalaswami | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Criminals should be barred from contesting polls: Gopalaswami

delhi Updated: Apr 21, 2009 17:43 IST

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Former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami on Tuesday said there is a growing criminalisation of politics and favoured barring of persons against whom charge sheets were filed for heinous criminal cases from contesting polls.

In an interaction with women journalists here, Gopalaswami, who demitted office yesterday, said he accepted the fact that politically motivated cases could be brought against any person contesting the polls and therefore any case registered six months prior to elections should not be considered.

"The law today says that anybody who is convicted cannot contest. There are apprehensions that false cases can be slapped and the government in power can target the opposition. I think a way has to be found to debar criminals," he said.

A proposal to this effect has been already made by the commission earlier and has been forwarded to the Parliamentary body concerned by the Law Ministry, he said.

The former CEC added that in the election laws of Municipalities and Panchayats of Rajasthan such a law barring politicians with charge sheets against them from contesting already exists. "If it can work there, we can also experiment with it here."

"But a person chargesheeted for heinous crime like murder, rape, dacoity (contesting). How can you call yourself the largest democracy?" he asked.