PIL Seeks Life-Time Ban on Con­victed Law­mak­ers

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: PIL pe­ti­tion­ers, seek­ing a life-ban on con­victed law­mak­ers, told the Supreme Court on Thurs­day that the elec­torate tends to vote for politi­cians with crim­i­nal an­tecedents as the lat­ter can sub­vert the sys­tem bet­ter to pro­mote their in­ter­ests. “The prob­lem is wors­eni ng each day,” ad­vo­cate Krish­nan Venu­gopal told a bench, com­pris­ing Jus­tices Ran­jan Go­goi and Navin Chawla, which is hear­ing pe­ti­tions seek­ing a life-time ban on con­victed politi­cians in­stead of the cur­rent six-year bar on con­test­ing the polls.

This pro­cliv­ity to back can­di­dates with a crim­i­nal past is espe- cially true of eth­nic groups in­ter­ested in pro­tect­ing their in­ter­ests, he said. The PILs pointed out that while judges and babus were sus­pended for such ac­tiv­i­ties, such acts by politi­cians were con­doned by the law. “This is dis­crim­i­na­tory,” the PILs stated. Venu­gopal said the court can­not leave the issue to leg­is­la­tors as they have a vested in­ter­est in not pass­ing such a law. Nei­ther can things be left to the will of the peo­ple, he said.

He cited sev­eral stud­ies to back his claim. Un­der a pre­vi­ous rul­ing of the top court, can­di­dates con­test­ing elec­tions have to re­veal both their crim­i­nal and ed­u­ca­tional back­grounds. De­spite this, things have not im­proved, Venu­gopal said.

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