The Supreme Court ruling that a person who is jailed or even in police custody cannot contest an election has been received with scepticism by the political class.
Many feel that rather than checking criminalisation of politics, this could provide the ruling party a tool to foist false cases against political rivals to prevent them from contesting polls.
Union minister for information and broadcasting Manish Tewari said he would be able to comment in detail only after reading the verdict, but added: “Vendetta is not unknown to Indian politics. If a state government decides to arrest somebody on trumped up charges, should that debar the person from contesting? This needs to be discussed.”
Samajwadi Party leader Shailendra Kumar said, “If such Supreme Court verdicts keep coming, none in this country will be able to do politics.”
While saying that his party was in favour of ending criminalisation of politics, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said the verdict needed to be studied. His concern: “One fears that a state government hostile to the opposition may not allow candidates to contest.”
Janata Dal (U)’s Vashishth Narayan Singh said there should be debate on its implementation between Election Commission and political parties.