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Letting a criminal and corrupt person lead a political party is against the basic tenet of democracy : SC

February 12, 2018


The Supreme court has on Monday, said that letting a criminal and corrupt person lead a political party is against the basic tenet of democracy. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking to bar convicted criminals from forming political parties. The Supreme court has asked the Centre to submit its reply with respect to the petition within two weeks. The bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra said that banning convicted persons from being office bearers of political parties is also in conformity with its past judgments. 

Responding to the petition, the Election Commission of India had submitted an affidavit in the Supreme court on Saturday demanding the right to deregister political parties violating the provisions of the Indian Constitution. 

The poll body in its affidavit, alleged that section 29 A of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, only empowers it to register a party, but does not give any right to take action against the parties violating the election rules, and hence, many political parties take advantage of this loophole in law. It further said that it can only pass certain cancellation orders when a party is declared to be unlawful or is found to have got itself registered through fraudulent means.  

In its reply, the Election Commission also stated that it has been requesting the governments from past 20 years to change the law, but nothing has been done in this regard till now.

A set of 22 proposals for electoral reforms was sent to the Centre in 2004, which a year later was referred to the standing committee of personnel, public grievances, law, and justice.

Asking the top court to issue suitable directives in the PIL, it stated that “Election Commission of India has actively taken steps for the decriminalization of politics, and has also made recommendations in that regard. However, any further steps to effectively decriminalize politics would require legislative amendments, which is beyond the scope of the Election Commission of India.”

 

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