Criminalisation of Politics: Definition, Reasons and Steps to Eliminate it

Criminalisation of Politics: Definition, Reasons and Steps to Eliminate it

Question - What do you understand by criminalisation of politics? Examine why it has grown and the constitutional steps which can be taken by government for decriminalising politics?


Criminalisation of politics means rising participation of criminals in the electoral process and selection of the same as elected representatives of the people.

Reasons for Criminalisation

• Criminalisation of politics ensures protection for those who break the law based on:
- Political
- Group
- Class
- Caste
- Communal considerations

• It also results from partisan interfering in crime investigation and poor prosecution of cases

• Massive delays over the years and high costs in judicial process would be another reason for this phenomenon

• Mass withdrawal of court cases and unwarranted grant of parole have also spurred criminalisation in politics.

Steps To Eliminate Criminalisation of Politics

• Constitution should promote intra party democracy and accountability

• Currently, the Indian Constitution (with the exception of the 10th Schedule of 1985) does not mention political parties while other constitutions provide conditions for functioning of political parties

• There should be fast track courts for criminals who are in politics as many criminals are allowed to contest elections if they are not convicted.

• If speedy trial of politicians with criminal records is carried out, they may not be in a position to contest elections

• Legal changes need to be made to modify laws and prevent criminals from contesting elections; Criminals should be blacklisted and disciplinary procedures should be meted out to them

• Election Commissioners should be appointed in a fair and transparent manner

• Persons with jail term more than 7 years should not be given right to contest elections before HC grants permission

• Penalties should be inflicted on political parties who give tickets to criminals to contest elections

• Awareness should be created about NOTA and such options for preventing criminals from winning elections

Facts and Stats

• Vohra Report in 1993 found criminal network was running a parallel government

• It also found criminal gangs enjoyed political patronage and protection

• Representation of People Act was challenged in the SC but no tangible results came from the same

• SC had asked the state to prevent MP and MLA from continuing in official posts if sentenced to more than 2 years jail term following conviction
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