The participation of anybody involved in criminal activities, minor or major, in the political functioning of the country is termed as leading to “Criminalisation of Politics“.
Criminalisation of politics is one of the major concerns in India as every third MP in the 16th Lok Sabha has criminal charges continue to be lawmakers.
Recently government has decided to set up 12 special courts to try Member of Parliament (MP) & Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) facing criminal charges, on the direction of the Supreme Court of India.
It is a positive step because –
-> It would expedite decision making in regards to ‘Public functionary’ who otherwise go on holding public office inspite of being guilty.
-> It would enhance transparency and accountability of public representative.
-> It can be seen as a ‘Mechanism to cleanse’ the politics paving way for youths to participate in it.
-> Step ahead to decriminalise politics – It will help to demoralize criminals to be part of system and strengthen the stake of election commission to take quick action.
-> Public faith – It will attempt to break the notion of “Rich & powerful, never penalize”, and thus help to bridge trust deficit between public & government.
-> Reduce burden on Judiciary – It will provide relief to the judges and helps them to have full focus on specific case.
-> It would help to upheld ‘true nature’ of representative democracy.
Some other measures:
-> All Political parties instead of blaming each other should evolve a code of ethics among themselves by consensus and not give ticket to such criminal elements (Stop nurturing crime in politics).
-> People must be sensitized about the malaise of the electoral process. Only then, free and fair poll can be conducted, which will lead to strengthening of democracy in India.
-> The Representation of People Act (RPA) should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections.
-> Imposing life ban on politicians convicted of serious criminal charges.
-> CBI must be made independent so that it can carry out any investigation without any political vendetta involved.
-> Although Electoral bond is a welcome step, but its secrecy must be removed.
-> State Funding during electoral process – Many committees like Indrajit Gupta committee has made various recommendations regarding state funding of polls which should be given a serious thought by government.
-> Right to Recall – This empowers citizen to recall their elected representative if he/she fails to work according to the will of the people. This compels political parties to search for cleaner candidates and not criminals.
-> Implementation of RTI for political parties will reduce the opaqueness and bring transparency in political funding.
-> Minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting election.
Government has taken measures like introduction of electoral bonds, demonetisation, cap on cash donation, cashless donation etc. However, for more effective reforms government need to consider the recommendations put forward by different political reform committees in order to save the pristine Indian democracy.