No Party Wants Law to Clean Up Politics, Deplores SC | Latest India News
New Delhi: The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that no political party was interested in drafting a law to decriminalize politics by banning candidates against whom serious charges have been made by the courts, adding that the legislative wing government did not want to take a step forward in this direction.
“There is unity in diversity,” joked magistrate Rohinton F Nariman and BR Gavai. “Unfortunately, we cannot legislate. We told the legislature to take action against the candidates against whom the charges were made, but nothing was done. Nothing is done and nothing will ever be done by any of the parties, ”the court said.
The judiciary heard a contempt petition filed by lawyer Brajesh Singh, who alleged willful disobedience to court orders by various political parties during Bihar’s assembly elections in 2020.
Singh’s petition cited a Supreme Court ruling in February 2020, requiring all political parties to publish on their websites and also publish in two newspapers information regarding pending criminal cases against the candidates they nominate and them. reasons for their selection. Singh argued that several parties did not publicly release details of their candidates’ criminal histories, in addition to simply citing their ability to win as a selection factor.
In rendering its judgment last year, the highest court noted an “alarming increase in criminals in politics.” The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress both welcomed the verdict at the time and said it would help fight the criminalization of politics.
The ordinance was adopted in response to contempt petitions, which pointed out, among other things, that despite instructions given by the court in an ordinance of 25 September 2018 for the decriminalization of politics, the government and the Electoral Commission of India (EC) failed. take concrete action on the issue.
The Supreme Court, in its 2018 ruling, called for a law to be passed to decriminalize politics, asked candidates to fill in details of pending criminal cases against them in the form provided by EC, and ordered disclosure by the parties of the candidate’s background on public platforms.
Senior lawyer Vikas Singh, who represented the Election Commission of India, informed the bench that there were 427 candidates with criminal backgrounds who stood for the legislative elections in Bihar in 2020. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD ) topped the list with 104 tainted candidates, followed by the BJP, which fielded 77 of those candidates.
Singh pointed out that after the Supreme Court’s ruling in February, the Election Commission (EC) wrote on March 6 to all recognized political parties, making it clear that failure to comply with court orders will be treated as a violation under of paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allocation) Decree, 1968, under which the electoral symbol of a party may be suspended or withdrawn.
However, lead lawyer Kapil Sibal, who represented the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), argued that there were a myriad of problems with hanging an election symbol in a regime like India, where even polls panchayat are conducted on the electoral symbol of the party. “Should the symbol of a national party be canceled because instructions were not followed in a state or at the panchayat level?” These are questions to think about, ”he said.
The bench asked Sibal, “Shall we put our hands up then?” If we don’t go through paragraph 16A, how are we going to do it? “
Sibal replied that the highest court should allow the EC under Article 324 (power to supervise, direct and control elections) to exclude any candidate against whom charges of offenses leading to more than seven years in prison. were formulated.
But the bench retorted that a bench of five judges in 2018 clarified that a constitutional court could not issue such instructions because there was no provision in the Constitution or in a law to support such a sanction. “But we will certainly consider your suggestion. Give us a rating and we’ll see what we can do within the parameters of the 2018 shutdown, ”he said.
The bench added: “What we are sure of is that the legislature never will. I’m sure it’s not in the near future, but in no future they won’t.
Under the Representation of the People Act, a deputy or deputy convicted by a court and sentenced to imprisonment for more than two years is not entitled to stand for election for the period of imprisonment and a further period of years from his release. There is no provision for disqualifying a candidate prior to conviction. The law disqualifies a candidate for using corrupt practices in elections, which must be proven by another opposition candidate in court.
In a separate case, where the Supreme Court is overseeing the constitution of special courts to speed up the trials of sitting MPs and MPs, statistics revealed that a total of 4,442 cases were pending against MPs and MPs in special courts. across the country in September. 1, 2020. Of these, sitting lawmakers are accused in 2,556 cases.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve, who has also represented EC, told the judiciary that suspension of an electoral symbol should be the last resort in cases of “the most glaring flaws” on the part of political parties, because too much political parties will be excluded from the electoral list. arena if each defect will result in the removal of the electoral symbol.
“Victory is always the main criterion in selecting candidates and that’s why voters will have to understand this, reject this. For now, the court can censor all defaulting parties and warn that if they do not follow court orders, the 16A (symbol suspension) will be the final path, ”Salve added.
The court also heard from lawyers for various parties, including the BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Lok Janshakti Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and NCP, as it reserved its order on the broadcast of ‘other instructions on the case.