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Madras HC asks Centre to explain why no law yet to stop people with criminal background from contesting elections

The Madras High has asked the central government to explain why it isn’t enacting a law to prohibit candidates with criminal background contesting elections to Parliament as well as to state legislatures as suggested by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 2018 in the case of Public Interest Foundation and others vs Union of India.

The division bench of Justices Kirubakaran and VM Velumani made these observations while hearing a plea seeking directions to call for the records relating to the detention order passed by the district magistrate under the Puducherry Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act. The petition was set aside.

The petition filed by the wife of the detenue also prayed for direction to the respondent to produce her husband, confined in Central Prison in Kalapet, Puducherry, before the Court and set him free.

The bench has asked the centre about the number of persons with criminal background who are part of political parties as top office bearers and district secretaries along with the details of the criminal cases registered against them.

The court observed that persons with criminal background should not become policy makers. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) released a report “Lok Sabha Elections 2019 – Analysis of Background, Financial, Education, Gender and other details of the winners” which revealed that 43 percent elected MPs have declared their criminal cases out of which 29 percent have serious criminal cases pending against them.

“Therefore, the Central government needs to come out with a comprehensive legislation to prohibit persons with criminal background from contesting elections to Parliament, State Legislatures and local bodies as observed by the Constitution Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Public Interest Foundation and others vs. Union of India and another on 25th September 2018,” the court said.

According to the court, criminals being accommodated in political parties and given tickets to contest elections to be elected as MLAs, MPs, and made ministers send a wrong message to the people, as the leaders should have a vision for decriminalization of politics.

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The bench observed that it has been reported that persons with criminal background are becoming policy makers in many parts of the country and the same needs to be prevented and the system has to be cleansed. This would be possible, only if the top leaders of our political parties are firm in not admitting the criminals in their political parties.

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