A Lifelong Ban On Criminals Contesting For Polls.
Post on 08,January 2018   5:00 AM
By - PolyEyes Staff
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Election Commission believes that such a lifelong ban is entirely in line with the Fundamental rights of the Constitution including Right to Equality.

Presently what are the provisions regarding banning convicted politicians?  Section 8 of Representation of People Act, 1951 lays down certain rules for disqualification of MP’s and MLA’s .Under Section 8 (1), (2) of the Act if any of the lawmakers are convicted of crimes like rape; murder; practicing Untouchability or Sati; violating Foreign Exchange Regulation Act; causing enmity over religion, language or region; indulging in electoral violations, insulting Indian Constitution; importing and exporting banned goods, indulging in terrorist activities; etc. will be disqualified for a minimum period of six years. It is irrespective of whether they are fined or imprisoned. Crimes under section 8(1) and 8(2) are related to various acts of Indian Penal Code; 

Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955; Prevention of Corruption Act 1988; Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, etc.

Moreover any lawmaker convicted of any other offence under section 8(3) and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years, he/she will be disqualified from date of conviction and further six years from the time released. 

Section 8(4) of RPA, 1951 which had provisions for convicted lawmakers to hold on to their seats provided they filed an appeal in higher court within three months of their conviction against the order of lower court. However in 2013 Lily Thomas vs. Union of India case, SC struck down section 8(4) of RPA, 1951 calling it unconstitutional. Henceforth there is automatic disqualification (his /her seat becomes automatically becomes vacant) of any lawmakers if they are convicted under sections 8 (1), 8 (2) and 8 (3).

Concluding Remark: According to the Association for Democratic Reforms in 16th Lok Sabha (2014) 34% of newly elected MP’s have criminal cases filed against them. However, in 2009 this figure dropped to 30%.But such issues can’t be waited upon till the trend lowers as somewhere or the other it encourages criminals. The politicians are in position where they have immense power and abuse of these powers is inevitable possibility. Such a lifelong ban on convicted lawmakers will go a long way in cleansing the Political system of India and also boast the confidence. This will be help in decriminalization of politics by acting as a moral impetus for candidate to not indulge in criminal activities. Also candidates with clean background entering the legislature, further will deepen common people’s faith in Political system thereby catering to overall strengthening the roots of Democracy.

As the ban is lifelong and stringent enough, it comes along with certain social implications and has possibility of getting misused. Often criminals would try getting their records cleared, which might shift the corruption to penetrate more at lower levels of law and order mechanism. Ruling party might try forging records resulting in freeing convicts of any charge against them, on paper. On the other hand any innocent candidate might be in a situation where he/she might be a victim of conspiracy and be connived against.  A Life-long punishment may seem disproportionate as candidate guilty of committing even minor crimes like breaking traffic rules, indulging in minor scuffling unlike heinous crimes like rape, murder, terrorism still he/she will be disqualified for life term from contesting elections. Though the rules are made but the implementation will always remain the core of positive impact. 




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