In case a party fails to implement the order, a contempt case can be filed in the Supreme Court. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
In a landmark ruling against disturbing trend of criminalisation of politics in India, the Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that all political parties must publish the criminal records of every candidate in the public forum. The top court directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls. Political parties will publish details of pending criminal cases against candidates on social media platforms and newspapers, the top court ruled. The order is of mandatory nature and compliance report must be filed by each party, the apex court said. In case a party fails to implement the order, a contempt case can be filed in the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court also directs political parties to publish credentials, achievements and criminal antecedents of candidates on newspaper, social media platforms and on their website while giving a reason for selection of candidate with criminal antecedents. The top court asked the Election Commission of India to file contempt petition in Supreme Court if political parties don’t not comply with the order.
The Association of Democratic Reforms, a watchdog, in a last year’s report had highlighted the trend of growing number of politicians with criminal records. According to the ADR report, nearly half of the lawmakers elected in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections had criminal records, a 26 per cent increase as compared to 2014. Of the 539 winning candidates analysed by the ADR, as many as 233 MPs — or 43 per cent — faced criminal charges.
The 2019 data reported that - in the BJP, 116 MPs or 39 per cent of winning candidates faced criminal cases, followed by 29 MPs (57 per cent) in the Congress; 13 (81 per cent) in the Janata Dal (United); 10 (43 per cent) from the DMK; and nine (41 per cent) from the Trinamool Congress.
In 2014, 185 Lok Sabha members (34 per cent) had criminal charges and 112 MPs had serious criminal cases against them. In 2009, 162 (nearly 30 per cent) out of the 543 Lok Sabha MPs had criminal charges and 14 per cent had serious criminal charges, it said.
(With agency inputs)