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Criminalisation of politics can’t be ignored: Supreme Court

“Corruption is a noun but becomes a verb when it enters the political arena. It is infective and resistant to antibiotics,” chief justice of India Dipak Misra commented.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2018 23:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
criminalisation of politics,Supreme Court,Parliament
The Centre on Thursday conceded that the stage has come to stop criminalisation of politics by barring persons facing criminal charges from entering the legislatures, but it told the Supreme Court to let Parliament take a call instead of judiciary. (AFP Photo )

People with criminal antecedents becoming members of Parliament and state assemblies is a problem and the legislature should not ignore it, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

“It is the duty of the legislature to respond to the collective cry of the citizens. Today, the citizens are saying please don’t let such people contest elections…It can’t be ignored by the legislature It’s a national thinking,” said a five-judge-bench headed by chief justice of India Dipak Misra.

The CJI told attorney general KK Venugopal that under the Constitution the government was obliged to make a law to stop criminals from entering politics.

“Corruption is a noun but becomes a verb when it enters the political arena. It is infective and resistant to antibiotics,” Justice Misra commented.

The bench is hearing a batch of petitions demanding disqualification of lawmakers facing criminal charges. It is being argued that disqualification should take place once the police submit its charge sheet against the lawmaker.

There is already an SC judgement that debars an elected representative from continuing as a member of House if he or she is convicted in a criminal case and sentenced to a jail term of three years or more.

As the proceedings began on Thursday, the court, wondered if the judiciary could add certain disqualifications in the Representation of People Act, 1951 for candidates to contest elections, which fell in the domain of Parliament. Guidelines issued in cases such as Vishakha or euthanasia were done because the fields were unoccupied by any law. But, in this case a law was already in place and adding something would be difficult, the court said.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 21:52 IST