Earlier in Forum







Q: How should criminals be weeded out of the entire political system — Parliament, Legislative Assemblies, the government and political parties?
(This is the third instalment of readers’ response)

Give us the right to recall

To keep the criminals away from the entire political system, the People's Representation Act should be amended and the following should be its new provisions: Any person convicted for any serious crime should be permanently debarred from contesting for any political office; no political party should sponsor or give ticket to a candidate who has been convicted or framed by any court; the people should be given the right to recall to make their representatives more responsible.

— SARITA MINHAS, Jalandhar City

Declaration form is one way

The need of the hour is to take up some concrete steps. Anyone who has criminal background should not be allowed to contest elections. Secondly, voters should shed their fear and elect candidates of their choice. Every candidate should give a declaration about his background and if anything is found wrong in this form, his nomination should be rejected. More and more people should be educated about the importance of voting.


The President should not swear in the tainted

All political parties should have the moral courage not to field candidates with criminal background. The Election Commission should use stick if parties show any laxity. It shouldn't allow criminals to contest by looking into the full bio-data of all candidates, which would include their qualification, political career, assets and criminal charges if any.

All election posters should carry the photograph of the candidate and this EC-approved information. Votes should elect clean candidates.

The President/Governor should ask for the full bio-data of all elected persons before administering them the oath of office. The ones with criminal background should not be sworn in.

— Dr NIRVIAL SINGH, Bhunerheri (Patiala)

Bring in the honest

We do not now practice democracy, but gravitate towards "democracy" with perceptible participation of criminals and their pervasive influence. This is now very difficult to control, as the evil has embraced almost all political parties. We shall have to bring new people into politics, people with positive and constructive attitude. In no case should they be economic offenders, caste brokers, FERA violators and convicted smugglers. It calls for a long-term struggle, but no meaningful change can be brought without such a struggle. A united fight on all fronts is urgently needed.


Parties will have to be strong

Since all parties have criminals in their fold, even senior party functionaries now want to weed them out, which will need them to be strong, "As long as one is not convicted, he or she is not a criminal." Their nomination papers are not rejected because of this lacuna. The conviction clause should now be changed to registration of the FIR, or else courts will take years to come out with verdicts. Criminals in State and Central Cabinets are in turn appointing more tainted persons as ministers. The sooner the parties begin cleansing their image, the better it would be.

— SHER SINGH, Ludhiana

Give EC some teeth

The Election Commission should make full use of the powers it has and reject the nomination if the following conditions are not met: an affidavit should be filed by a candidate regarding has he or she ever been charge-sheeted for any serious offence; He or she should declare his or her assets and the assets of his or her family. This along with a copy of income tax returns for the past five years should be filed along with the nomination papers. The minimum qualification should be graduation. If a candidate has concealed any information, his or her party should be heavily fined. The Income Tax authorities and the CBI can verify this information. The EC should have judicial powers to send a candidate to jail for filing wrong information.

— M. S. ANAND, Ferozepore Cantonment

Verify their character

The following points should be incorporated in the Constitution: There should be a minimum qualification for the elected members, which should be on the pattern of the service conditions for government servants, who for their appointment require a character certificate from the police and the local administration in which their past record is given in detail. The sphere of the legislators' work should be limited to only legislation and they should not be offered other “charming” assignments. The President and the Governor should be directly elected and they should choose their own Cabinet and administration.

— RUBY JOSAN, Kapurthala

United effort will solve things

Our voters are unable to recognise the true worth of contestants at the time of elections due to the scanty showers of formal education and are unaware of realities. Even the hoeing operation and herbicide sprinkles (launching agitations and giving memorandums) will win nothing more than the meagre crop of political mileage. The need of the hour is for all parties to unite and form a special super parliamentary committee led by the Prime Minister that should give the criteria for joining political parties, contesting elections and staying in government. The recommendations should not be implemented unless endorsed by the President.

— BALKAR SINGH, Mukerian

Judiciary should be proactive

Imagine the world's biggest democracy being governed by an international underworld don a robber, a murderer and a dacoit. Criminals enter the legitimate power corridor only to legalise their black deeds and seek protection from law. They use muscle power to terrorise law-abiding citizens. Money power and active support from powerful politicians embolden them to commit heinous crimes and go unpunished. The judiciary should play a proactive role and debar the charge-sheeted from contesting the elections (if prima-facie so demands). Parties should undertake self-cleansing and the people should refrain from supporting criminals. Funds should go to only those parties that are free of the criminal tinge.

— Col KULDIP GREWAL (retd), Jalandhar

Negative voting can be tried

The first formula is to create more effective laws that will prevent criminals from entering the political process. New legal initiative such as Amendments in Section 8 of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, can empower the Election Commission to deal with tainted politicians. The second method is engineering a scenario where political parties are reformed from within. Negative voting is the way out, if people keep rejecting tainted candidates, parties will stop putting them up.


Take up complaints promptly

Elections should be made less expensive. Today, an intelligent, honest, but an ordinary person cannot contest the elections without the support of a political party because crores of rupees are required for campaigning. All political parties should agree to get rid of criminals among them and no convicted person should be allowed to contest the election. The number of terms for an individual should be limited to two. Only one member from each family should be allowed to contest the election. Only after verification of moveable and immoveable property should the candidate be allowed to contest the election. Merely declaration of assets is not sufficient; verification is more important. Any petition against a politician should be promptly taken up.


Derecognise parties of tainted men

The Election Commission is responsible for hatching criminals in our political system. Criminals can be weeded out if the EC recognise only those parties that don't have tainted men among them. Parties are no less responsible. If any party fields and tainted candidate, the EC should have the power to object and derecognise the party if need be. All candidates should produce character certificates given by the police and the parties should own the responsibility for the conduct of these candidates.

— RAJ KUMAR, Dasuya

Withdraw their privileges

Weeding out criminals from politics needs drastic measures, which unfortunately is not possible in a democratic set-up. The reason why criminals enter politics is because there are so many privileges available to the elected person. They are not obligated to use the State funds carefully. For them, all charges are politically motivated. Jail for them means comfortable stay in dak bungalows, rest houses and expensive nursing homes or in the AIIMS. Since their privileges are extraordinary, so should be their prosecution. They should be put in special jails once the investigations have started and all elected representatives should be brought under a special Act under which they should be made to relinquish their seat and be debarred from re-election till the case is settled.

— Lt Col S.K. CHIBBER, (retd), Dalhousie

Break the unholy alliance

Businessmen and bureaucrats are creating unethical, unholy alliance for their vested interests. The criminals are operating fake institutions to siphon funds and shukrana (greasing the palm) and nazrana (favouritism, nepotism) cultures are the obvious outcomes of a crime-oriented society. Zabrana (extortion) tactics are common in politics.

In view of this, it is necessary that the civil society should first combat criminals and spruce up vigilance mechanism to break the nexus where the neta is in connivance with the babu and the babu in connivance with the goonda. The authorities should make the effort to break the bonds of graft with craft.

— R. S. YADAV, Rewari

Identify sensitive states

Presently, most of the tainted ministers, MPs and MLAs come from Bihar, Jharkhand (earlier part of Bihar) and Uttar Pradesh. These are the states where special steps are needed to reduce if not remove this blot on our democracy. There is need to carry out electoral and judicial reforms to first debar criminals from contesting and then expedite legal proceeding against them. If the charges fail in court, those who filed the cases should be dealt with severely. Voters and parties will have to act more responsibly.

— Brig H. S. SANDHU (retd), Panchkula

Ask for confidential reports

Stringent laws need to be enacted to keep away criminals from politics. Criminals and the charge-sheeted should not be allowed to contest the elections.

The people should condemn their entry in politics. Judiciary should take quick steps and force candidates to submit affidavits of assets and personal background at the time of filing nomination papers.

It should ask various departments to send confidential reports of all candidates. The Election Commission should also be given vast powers to ensure that criminals stay out of politics.

— PREM SAGAR, Panchkula

One last push is all we need

Every politician and bureaucrat should sit alone in his or her room and introspect in a calm manner. After this, he or she will realise how dishonest, inefficient and incompetent he or she has been and will then cut himself or herself from all thoughts of re-entering politics.

If not, all political parties of India should get their members together and discuss in free and frank manner the antecedents of the members whose credentials are doubtful. They should then be shown the door. The states and the Centre should then give their final orders to oust all corrupt officers. Voters should march in one huge procession against corrupt leaders and force them to quit politics.


Let justice reach the grassroots

Justice does not reach the grassroots level. The law and order machinery needs gearing up for criminals to stay out of politics. All public-dealing systems should be revamped and made pro-poor. Unless the above mentioned measures are taken at the earliest, the nation will be left behind in this highly competitive world.

— PARTAP SINGH, Kainthan (Dasuya)

Harsh steps are required

To eradicate criminals from politics and the administrative system, we’ll have to take harsh steps. We have to change our system, so that we can rightly punish criminals and bring crimes to an end.

— JITVESH KUMAR, On e-mail



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