PIL Seeks Life-Time Ban on Convicted Lawmakers
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.