The Supreme Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a life ban on convicted persons from contesting elections.
At present, a person convicted in a criminal case is barred from fighting the polls for six years. Under the Representation of the People’s Act, a convicted lawmaker cannot be in the poll fray from the date of his or her conviction.
A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitav Roy issued notice to the Union government on a PIL filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Kumar, which is yet another step towards de-communalisation and de-criminalisation of politics.
According to the petitioner, several committees, including the parliamentary committee, the Election Commission and the Law Commission have recommended electoral reforms to rid criminal and communal elements. However, successive government have failed to take any measures for ushering in the reforms.
Those who get framed in criminal cases six months prior to an election should also be barred, says the petition, which has also asked the court that there should be a minimum education and maximum mandatory age limit for contesting elections.
“It is impossible to achieve golden goals set out in the preamble of our constitution without de-criminalisation and de-communalisation of politics and without eradication of corruption, casteism and nepotism from electoral system,” the PIL stated.
“Electoral processes, as being a high alert area for corruption and criminalisation, is a common knowledge, something that even the leaders of all political parties are in consensus with,” the petition said.
The PIL among other things also wanted debarring of contestants against whom charges have been framed in criminal cases six months prior to the an election.