Criminalisation of polity is termite to democracy: SC

Supreme Court. REUTERS/File

While asking for a law to be created against political parties fielding candidates with criminal cases in their name, a Supreme Court bench said the criminalisation of the polity "is a termite to the citadel of democracy".

Under the present law, only convicted persons are debarred from contesting polls. 

The 100-page judgement was delivered on a batch of PILs filed by the NGO PIL Foundation and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, among others, who sought direction to the Election Commission to disqualify political parties giving tickets to such candidates.

The court said substantial efforts have to be undertaken to cleanse the polluted stream of politics by imposing such a prohibition against people with criminal antecedents as the country feels agonised when money and muscle power reign supreme.

The bench said false cases are foisted upon prospective candidates but that the Parliament can address this while passing the appropriate legislation.

"The law-making wing of the democracy of this country will take it upon itself to cure the malignancy. We say so as such a malignancy is not incurable. It only depends upon the time and stage when one starts treating it; the sooner the better, before it becomes fatal to democracy," CJI Misra, who authored the judgement on behalf of the bench, said.

The bench also consisted of justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.

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Criminalisation of polity is termite to democracy: SC

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