New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Why do most criminals enjoy political patronage and how to stop criminals dictating terms to politicians, the Supreme Court has decided to examine these two questions and sought responses of the Centre and state governments. 

A bench headed by justice Tarun Gogoi was examining an appeal filed by the Uttar Pradesh government, which had challenged an Allahabad high court order constituting a committee of eminent persons to suggest ways and means to check criminalization of politics. 

The HC had set out 10 issues for the committee, which included process and reasons why politics is increasingly criminalized, examination of methods by which criminals begin to dictate their wishes to politicians, checking entry of criminals into politics, measures to expedite investigation and trial of criminals enjoying political patronage, making investigation more scientific and transparent, laying down transparent guidelines for grant of sanction for prosecution and review of government orders granting security. 

Eight years after the appeal was filed by the UP government, the bench entrusted senior advocate Sidharth Luthra with the task of examining the issues framed by the HC and informing the apex court of the points which needed fresh judicial scrutiny. 

The bench headed by justice Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and state governments seeking their responses after Luthra pointed out that many of the issues framed by the HC had been examined in the last eight years by the SC which had even pronounced judgments. 

However, Luthra informed the court that three issues - criminals dictating their wishes to politicians, how to check entry of criminals into politics and guidelines to make grant of sanction of prosecution transparent - had not yet been examined and could be taken up for adjudication after seeking the views of the Centre and state governments. 

The SC had taken up issues relating to criminalization of politics in the past. In the case Association for Democratic Reforms, the SC had in 2002 made it mandatory for candidates to declare their criminal antecedents. In Manoj Narula judgment last year, the court had said the Constitution expected the prime minister and chief ministers not to choose persons with criminal antecedents as ministers. 

Luthra told the court that to stop criminal elements' influencing politicians, one must have a close look at the poll expenditure. The limit of Rs 70 lakh per constituency was unrealistic and this forced politicians to depend on criminal elements for black money for the purpose of election expenditure, he said. 

"The current limit of Rs 70 lakh per candidate is unrealistic and it is at this point that the need for unaccounted money begins and the reliance on criminal elements and their resources," Luthra said. 

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method