Decriminalisation of Politics in India​

Karan Choudhary
National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi (Jharkhand), India.

Volume III, Issue VI, 2020

Criminalization of politics is a vital topic to be discussed in any democratic platform. This issue is on focus every now and then. The Government and the governance system’s credibility is questioned. Sometimes the government loses its legitimacy and authenticity due to the involvement of persons with criminal backgrounds. The frequency with which alleged or convicted criminals manage to gain public office threatens the ideals and the functioning of the Indian democracy. The members of the legislature are expected and directed to represent vicariously the aspirations and concerns of the people whom they represent. Hence it is important for the legislature of a representative democracy to be a true reflection of the aspirations and dreams of the people and also to be fair, honest and accountable to the people they represent. But nowadays India is witnessing a crisis of empathy, quality, fairness, equality etc. amongst all the chosen MPs or MLAs. Not only is there a serious question of propriety lying over the fairness of electoral procedure followed, an even greater concern lies in the kind of people who are entering the polity of India. India stands witness to an alarmingly high number of people with criminal background who have polluted Indian polity. Several government-appointed Commissions have already made clear recommendations for electoral reforms, but the political will to implement these recommendations in letter and spirit is lacking. We have allowed criminalisation in politics to go completely unchecked. The numbers are appalling. In the Lok Sabha, 139 of the 539 members elected in 2019 had been charged with serious criminal offences such as murder, rape and dacoity. This paper discusses about the meaning of criminalisation of politics, reasons for criminalisation, consequences of criminalisation and the role of legislations and judiciary in decriminalisation of politics in India.

Keywords: Criminalisation, Decriminalisation, Politics, Legislations and Judiciary.