Will India’s leaders learn a lesson from the conduct of the former New Zealand minister?

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There are currently a total of 4001 MLAs in the country. Out of which 1,777 i.e. 44 percent leaders have been involved in crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping. At the same time, 43 percent of the MPs in the present Lok Sabha are involved in criminal cases. A total of 5097 cases are pending against the honorable across the country.

Setting a high standard of probity and morality in global politics, New Zealand’s Justice Minister Kiri Allen resigned from her post after being accused of hitting a car. This incident happened in Wellington. Not only this, the police took the minister into custody after the incident. A bright side of the coin of the politics of cleanliness was seen in New Zealand. The other dark side of this coin can be seen in the politics of India, where despite serious cases like murder, rape, robbery, dacoity and abduction on the people’s representatives, they are frozen in Parliament and Assemblies.

There are currently a total of 4001 MLAs in the country. Out of which 1,777 i.e. 44 percent leaders have been involved in crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping. At the same time, 43 percent of the MPs in the present Lok Sabha are involved in criminal cases. A total of 5097 cases are pending against the honorable across the country. Of these, 40 percent are more than five years old. Nine years ago, the Supreme Court had given a decision that cases against MPs and MLAs should be disposed of within a year by speedy disposal. It was even said that if the lower courts fail to do so, then an explanation will have to be given before the High Court. There was also a provision for special courts for this. But the situation is that at present more than five thousand such cases are pending and 40 percent cases are pending for more than five times. On August 10, 2021, the Supreme Court had directed that the judges of these special courts would not be transferred without the permission of the Supreme Court to ensure early hearing of pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs. Since then, the High Court files applications from time to time seeking permission to transfer a judge on administrative necessity or on other grounds. In view of this, Justice Hansaria had suggested amendment in the order dated 10 August 2021 in the 18th report filed in the Supreme Court. The amicus curiae report quoted ADR’s July 2022 report as saying that criminal cases are pending against 44 per cent of Lok Sabha MPs and 31 per cent of Rajya Sabha MPs.

In the cases of crimes, along with the MPs, the MLAs of the states are also not far behind. According to a condition of the Supreme Court, any leader has to file a self-declared affidavit before becoming an MLA, in which detailed information is given about how many criminal cases have been registered against him. According to the same affidavit, criminal cases are pending against 44 percent of the total MLAs in India. At present there are a total of 4001 sitting MLAs in the country. Out of which 1,777 i.e. 44 per cent leaders are facing charges of cases like murder, rape, kidnapping. Some of the charges against politicians are minor or political, but most of the MLAs face serious charges like attempt to murder, assault on government officials and theft. In 2004, the number of criminal cases against public representatives was 22 per cent, which has now doubled. These figures show that despite millions of efforts to make politics crime free, the number of MLAs, MPs against whom criminal cases are pending is increasing. There are no petty charges against these 1,777 leaders facing criminal cases. These are the cases whose investigation has been completed and the police has also filed the charge sheet in the court, but despite this, no decision has been given on these cases so far.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, along with Madhya Pradesh, are the three states in which not a single case has been disposed of in the last 5 years in terms of disposal of criminal cases against politicians. If we look at the serious criminal cases against the MLAs, 1,136 or 28 per cent of the total criminal cases against the MLAs are those in which the accused can be sentenced to five years or more in jail if found guilty. BJP MLAs have maximum number of criminal cases registered in BJP ruled states. Bharatiya Janata Party has BJP government in 15 states of India. In these, BJP is running the government in 6 states with majority and in 9 states with allies. The BJP has a total of 479 MLAs in these states, out of which 337 MLAs have serious criminal cases registered against them. Congress ranks second in the list of MLAs with criminal cases. 334 Congress MLAs have criminal cases against them, out of which 194 MLAs have serious criminal cases against them. Other parties include Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Trinamool Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, YSR Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (formerly Telangana Rashtra Samithi), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Biju Janata. The number of MLAs in these parties is less, but the percentage of crime is high. Most of the leaders with criminal cases are not worried about the decisions of the courts, because till the court does not pronounce the decision of being found guilty, no one can stop these leaders from contesting elections, even while in jail. Elections can be contested. The tainted public representatives are not a matter of concern for political parties. All political parties look alike on this issue. They accuse each other of promoting crimes just to make their party appear cleaner than the other. When it comes to cleaning the filth of crime from politics, everyone starts counting each other’s numbers. In such a situation, even the imagination of a clean and prosperous democracy in the country is still far away.

– Yogendra Yogi

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