During the Anna Hazare show, skeptics said people shouldn’t randomly protest, they should come out and vote (for the record, people have voted in really large numbers in the recently concluded assembly elections). Hazaarists replied saying that there’s no point voting because every candidate is a crook, and they are all corrupt, or something to that effect. Then someone else popped up and said that criminals should not be allowed to contest for elections.
Now, there exists a law barring criminals from contesting elections. However, only people convicted of a criminal case can’t contest, not those who are under trial. The justification of this is that activities such as “riots”, “protests”, “dharnas”, etc. come under the criminal law and you can’t “obviously” bar people who take part in such “noble activities” from contesting. So you have people who have led noble dharnas contesting, as those who have been accused of committing rape or murder. Inclusive democracy, as they say.
What I don’t understand is what is so noble about holding protests, blocking roads and railways and holding entire population to ransom. I don’t understand why perpetrators of such crimes need protection, and are allowed to contest elections.
So I think one step in decriminalizing politics would be to bar people with a criminal case against them (not necessarily convicted) from contesting for polls. Of course we won’t put this law with retrospective effect, but it’ll apply to only new cases that might be filed against potential candidates from the date on which the law is notified. It would have welcome side effect that politicians would now think thrice before they decide to hold rallies that stop road and rail traffic and hold the mango man to ransom. And apart from potentially decreasing corruption, it would make our cities a much more peaceful place to stay in.
But I’m being impractical here. Who will bell the cat? Why would any politicians “act against themselves” and bring in such a law? Can some Hazaarists please stand up, or rather sit down in fast, for this, please?
3 thoughts on “Criminals in politics”
in that case doesn’t it become easy to get people out of the whole process by filing false charges against them?
“The justification of this is that activities such as “riots”, “protests”, “dharnas”, etc. come under the criminal law and you can’t “obviously” bar people who take part in such “noble activities” from contesting.”
No, that is not the justification. Justification for the criteria being conviction, rather than simply being charged, is the age old maxim: You are innocent until proven guilty.
If Advani is convicted in the RJB case, he too will be barred from contesting elections, even though his offence comes under the category of political dharna/protest.
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