Entry of criminals into politics

“The game of chair” Converts Representatives into Hegemons and common man into sheep.

When the idea of self-rule came to the mind of the people, it was presumed as the sign of civilization and proficient management, assigning the heads remuneration and responsibilities and they were cast a duty to abide by other people. It was the human race which did it. But later Sly people of this world by fulfilling their malicious desires ,power and strength overpowered the weak and gain the possession of limited resources and convert others to ‘Have-nots’ and themselves attained the status of ‘Haves. ‘Gradually the institutions of ‘State’ were overpowered by the vested interest of few people and it became quite fragile and representative of the greed of few.

India’s development after independence began initially under the shelter of charismatic leaders of that time who framed the constitution worked a lot for people. But after them as new actors with new aspirations turned out on the stage exploitation started and gradually  knew no limits and increased manifold.

The writer is also a prominent Student VI th SEM B.A.L.L.B (Hons.) School of Legal Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University, Regional Campus, Jalandhar

The values which were intrisinic characteristics of earlier political parties were no longer followed .They remained confined only to paper work .Politics then turned its definition as “Politics is all about power and it is not an abode of every man”. And this unlimited power has attracted a lot of people with criminal intentions or even those who did certain criminal acts as people representatives in India.

We would like to make this point really clear People convicted of certain criminal offences are not allowed to vote[1] in our country but unfortunately people guilty of certain criminal offences, though  not  proved in the court of law can stand in election as representatives.

MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM

In 15th Lok Sabha Elections there were 158 newly elected MPs with criminal cases pending against them. Out of these, there were 74 MPs having Serious charges against them. As compared to 2004 there is an Increase of about 25.78% in MPs with criminal charges and 36.36% increase in the number of MPs with serious criminal charges. [2]This figure denotes the sorry State of Affairs of our country.

It was estimated in 2004, about one in five MPs had a criminal record, including some with charges of heinous crimes such as murder, rape, dacoity and kidnapping.[3]and its effects can seen from  NPW,1977 report which shows the links of politics and dadas[4] and these links have increased manifold as the statistics shows an increase in number of criminals.

N.N Vohrareport found such deep involvement of politicians with organized crime all over India that it was barred from publication.[5] This is what our politician’s power is. Any report against them is debarred from publication.

What  lacunas were there in our law which caused it to act as puppet in the hands of these criminals”

Our criminal law was adopted way back in 18th century and it owed its origin through British and till now it is following the same pattern as it is just based on evidence and statement of witnesses. Even though everyone know the reality i.e. that person has committed the crime ( for e.g. Jessica Lal’s case) yet it failed to prove it either because of absence of witnesses or witness turning hostile any other purpose the accused have to be discharged/acquitted by the hon’ble  court. This act as an effective sword in the hand of politicians with criminal records and it makes our judiciary helpless.

Under current law, only people who have been convicted at least on two counts be debarred from becoming candidates. This leaves the field open for charge sheeted criminals, many of whom are habitual offenders or history-sheeters. It is mystifying indeed why a person should be convicted on two counts to be disqualified from fighting elections. Thus, unless a person has been convicted, he is not a criminal. Mere charge-sheets and pending cases do not suffice as bars to being nominated to fight an election.[6]

Thus, it can be taken as a first major lacuna in our legal system.Thus, giving wild card entry to criminals to enter into politics and as evident from an investigation into the record of 500 persons who were candidates in the Lok Sabha elections of 1998, 72 had criminal proceedings pending against them.[7]

Secondly,An order issued by the Election Commission (E.C.) in August 1997 clarified that disqualification of a person from contesting elections to Parliament and the State legislatures under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RPA) takes effect from the date of conviction by a trial court irrespective of whether the convicted person is released on bail or not during the pendency of an appeal[8].

So, this made the criminal free to contest elections and exploit the resources of the country, Thus justice which is delayed at the first instance become denied when the person comes to power and move the administration according to his own will.

Thirdly, first past the post system let these criminals to play with the people as even those who secured more than others but even less than 50% win.

We certainly believe it to be the major drawback of our system and a mistake of constitutional framers.

The next lacuna may be termed as multi-party system, that’s good in the sense it stops domination of two parties or single party but as of now parties in excess have come into existence and these parties are just bothered about how to acquire political power and lack noble political values and principles and thus had made mockery of administration. To acquire power by hook or crook these political parties are preferring people who have a greater chance of winning and forgetting every other thing. Thus ‘win ability ‘factor constitutes an important place in their dictionary.

What cause common man to vote for these candidates and curtail their spirit of revolution and change ‘’

Felix Frankfurter  once said ‘No Office in this land is more important than that of being a citizen ‘[9]Than the question arises ‘What happen that causes common man to vote for such people who are exploiting them?’ ‘Is it that the common man has learnt extreme toleration and has become weak or they are incapacitated by certain intrisinic and extrinsic circumstances?’ The answer is probably yes.

Further, the feelings of revolution and change which were there in youth at the time of freedom struggle no longer prevail. Poor and illiterate people find it really difficult to afford 3 meals a day. So, they dare not think about other issues.

In a survey done by us of a village of Punjab which was in deplorable condition with no proper water supply, sewage system, roads etc. When asked the people how they vote, they replied,”When elections come we are allured by giving money, alcohol and other things. So, we vote for them”

Thus, without bothering for the fact why they are voting, these poor people vote in lieu of certain amount of money spent on them .Spending of a large amount was also revealed by MR.Chowdhary.

Mr.Nabakrushna Chowdhury, “famous speech” at the inaugural function of Gandhi Tattwa Prachara Kendra at Balasore on 14.7.1963 is relevant even to-day in which he stressed “Huge amounts are raised at the time of elections from big mine-owners and rich businessmen for which no detailed accounts are kept.[10]

Secondly, those who are aware and well-educated are more interested in accumulation of money rather than entering into politics. They consider it a dirty game as it is full of crime. People go on murdering other just for seat.

For instance,Rashtriya Janta Dal minister,  Brij Bihari Prasad was murdered by an independent MLA from Gopal Ganj.[11]

In States like Bihar and UP, where the most ‘goonda-raj ’ prevails. The people are forced to vote.

Apart from them there are certain individuals who vote in the hope that someday these politicians will fulfill the fake promises they make to common people every 5 years, and common people vote for them in hope that one day their fate will change.

SUGGESTIONS

When we reach to the remedies of these problems .Only a single solution given by Dr.Bimal Jalan can solve a lot of these problems enlisted in this research paper. If  it,  is implemented.

He  suggested  since it is difficult to determine who is a criminal and who is not and many a times the cases filed against the people fighting elections could be politically motivated, it is difficult to bar anyone from fighting elections. So, a rule should be made that all the cases against the elected representatives be heard on a daily basis and the final judgment should be delivered within a period of three months. And till the time the courts clear them of the charges, they should not be given oath and denied the privileges accorded to an elected member. This, Dr Jalan argued, will prove to be a great disincentive to the criminal elements because if they have indeed committed heinous crimes, they will be wary of the cases against them being heard on a daily basis and the verdict being delivered within a span of three months.[12]

It will even help us in the matters of sitting members and privilege accorded to them. It will also speeded up the process

Apart from this, we are of view that First past the post system must be replaced by two-ballot system.[13]Under this system, a candidate would not be declared elected unless he or she obtains the majority of the votes polled. If none of the contestants gets the majority, there will be a "run-off" election between the candidates in the first two positions. It would lead to run-off elections in a large number of constituencies, as candidates in India often get elected by winning less than 50 per cent of the votes polled. To tide over this problem, it is suggested that to begin with, a candidate may be declared elected in the first round itself if he or she secures not less than 40 per cent of the votes polled. After the system stabilizes, the threshold may be raised to 50 per cent.[14]

This will even uphold former Chief  Election Commissioner BB Tandon recommendation   that the candidate should not be allowed  to contest elections  if charges are frame against such person by the court.[15].

Thirdly, Determined to nation Youth like us having strong and good values must emerge as new actors on political grounds and bring the revolution in India because we youth are literally interested to mobilize our energies in positive way.

CONCLUSION

Finally, to conclude this research paper we want to say that the Apex Court of India has given a very good judgment dated May 2, 2002 in Civil Appeal No. 7178 of 2001 and writ petition (c) No. 294 of 2001 which held that the voters' right to know the antecedents a) of the Constitution.[16]

Still we are of   view, vigilant citizens can make a vigilant country.

“NOW IT IS ON YOU AND ME HOW WE RESPOND TO IT ,BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE EFFORT COUNTS,”

Note-: Others Change when you yourself are determined to change…….

[1]http://www.indian-elections.com/index.html

[2] NATIONAL ELECTION WATCH & ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS report Criminalization of Politics-Can it be stopped ‘Available at  http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/criminalisation-of-politics-can-it-be-stopped-1035644.html’

[4] In 1977, the National Police Commission headed by Dharma Vira observed: ``The manner in which different political parties have functioned, particularly on the eve of periodic election, involves the free use of musclemen and ‘Dadas’ to influence the attitude and conduct of sizable sections of the electorate ‘Available at http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l290-Criminalization-of-Politics.html

[5] http://milapchoraria.tripod.com/rajyasabha/id13.html                    

[6]Criminalization of Politics by NIDHI SONI ‘available at http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l290-Criminalization-of-Politics.html

[7]the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) report

[9]http://www.adrindia.org/Activities/Content/election-watch.html

[10] http://orissamatters.com/2002/07/20/electoral-reform/

[11]Intelligence Bureau’s report, A.K Deol ‘available at http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/15112002/1511200221.htm’

[12]http://www.articlesbase.com/politics-articles/criminalisation-of-politics-can-it-be-stopped-1035644.html

[13] The idea of introducing the latter system is borrowed from a recommendation made by the Law Commission in its 170th report; Former Chief Election Commissioner M.S. Gill backed a similar proposal

[14] The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution comes up with a set of proposals aimed to stem the criminalization of politics;

[15]http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_criminalisation-of-politics-a-threat-to-democracy_1097388

[16]http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/15112002/1511200221.htm

Courtesy:

Priya Gupta , Legal Internee at Ferry Dhiman & Co.

www.lawferry.com, India

 

Ferry Dhiman 
on 11 January 2012
Published in Students
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