29 MLAs in Madhya Pradesh have criminal charges against them: ADR report - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

29 MLAs in Madhya Pradesh have criminal charges against them: ADR report

Nov 01, 2023 05:12 PM IST

Around 13% of members in the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly have criminal cases against them that could disqualify them from serving if convicted, says a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Madhya Pradesh Election Watch. These cases have been pending for up to 17 years, and the report calls on the Supreme Court to intervene and prevent the entry of such individuals into the electoral and political process. The report also highlights the practice of nominating candidates with criminal backgrounds and criticizes the lenient penalties imposed on parties that do so.

Twenty-nine out of the 230 (13%) members of the Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly have criminal cases against them that would disqualify them from serving as MLAs if they were to be convicted, says a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Madhya Pradesh Election Watch.

The assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are scheduled for November 17. (File Photo)
The assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh are scheduled for November 17. (File Photo)

These cases have been pending for as long as 17 years, and the ADR claims that this is a “void in the law” that is open to exploitation by various parties. It states that the Supreme Court should “[step] in the area left purposely vacant by our law makers and [come] up with directions by debarring the entry of such elements from our electoral and political process.”

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

16 Congress MLAs, 12 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs and one Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA have charges framed against them.

These criminal offences fall under Section 8 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and include serious, grave and/or heinous crimes like murder, rape and robbery, as well as offences related to narcotics and drugs or corruption and money laundering. Subsections 8 (1), 8 (2) and 8(3) list the offences that would lead to the candidates being disqualified from becoming MPs or MLAs if they are convicted, convicted with a punishment of not less than 6 months, or convicted with a punishment of not less than two years, respectively.

The MLAs have these charges pending against them for an average of six months. 10 MLAs have a total of 12 cases against them pending for ten years or more.

Dilip Gurjar of the Congress has had charges of voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, rioting, armed with deadly weapon pending against him for 17 years, the longest in the MP Assembly. Following him is Ramkhelawan Patel of the BJP, with a defamation charge pending for 16 years. Vikram Singh of the BJP, Mahesh Parmar of the INC and Narmada Prasad Prajapati of the INC have cases pending against them for 15, 13 and 12 years respectively.

However, the report notes that there may have been a change in the status of these cases which will only be known if the MLAs decide to file nomination papers for the upcoming elections in Madhya Pradesh, which are scheduled for November 17.

The elections are likely to be a close contest between the Congress and the BJP, who had come to power in the state in 2020 after the Congress government fell due to the resignation of 20 of their MLAs.

The report also made a number of observations about the practice of nominating candidates with criminal backgrounds and the manner in which parties were penalised for doing so. In August 2021, the Supreme Court penalised 10 parties that had contested the Bihar Legislative Assembly Elections. However, the ADR claims that the punishment was “lenient”, with fines of only 1 lakh or 5 lakh meted out.

The court order given on that date stated that neither the Legislature nor the political parties had taken any steps to reduce the influence of “muscle power” from Indian politics, despite repeated appeals from the court to do so.

The ADR claims that the Supreme Court must step in to take strict action against the nomination of criminals for elections. This is because the legislature has not played its role in keeping criminal elements out of Indian politics, meaning that the other two pillars of the government must step in to do so and put a check on its powers.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, May 19, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On