Govt opposes idea of deregistering parties with members having a criminal past
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Govt opposes idea of deregistering parties with members having a criminal past

The SC had last month sought the Centre’s views on a PIL that proposed empowering the EC to deregister political parties that are headed by people with a criminal background or in the position of other office-bearers.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2018 23:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Political parties,Politicians with criminal past,Election Commission
Poll officials counts ballot papers in Jalandhar in March 2017. The top court had questioned the dichotomy in Indian politics which on one hand bars convicted politicians from contesting elections but permits them to form and head a political party.(Pardeep Pandit/HT File Photo)

Opposing the idea of deregistering political parties that have leaders and office-bearers with criminal antecedents, the Centre told the Supreme Court the move wasn’t viable and could affect their autonomy.

“The appointment of a post holder to a political party is a matter of party’s autonomy and it may not be appropriate to preclude Election Commission (EC) from registering a political party merely because a post holder is not eligible to contest elections, ” the Centre said in an affidavit.

The SC had last month sought the Centre’s views on a PIL that proposed empowering the EC to deregister political parties that are headed by people with a criminal background or in the position of other office-bearers.

The Centre argued that under existing legal provisions relating to registration of a political party, there does not appear to be any nexus between situations debarring people disqualified from contesting polls and them becoming members of any party.

The affidavit also says that “a convicted politician who is a member of a political party is not a representative”.

The top court had questioned the dichotomy in Indian politics which on one hand bars convicted politicians from contesting elections but permits them to form and head a political party.

“It’s a strange situation. A convicted politician cannot contest election but he can select candidates who will contest elections”, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud had said.

First Published: Mar 21, 2018 23:33 IST