Bar criminals from standing for elections

In his front-page editorial, “Co-opting the crooks” (May 11), H.K. Dua has lamented the helplessness of the political system to keep other Shahabuddins out of Parliament. No one in the government or Opposition seems bothered about the danger of a nation of one-billion people and the political system facing from the crooks of the land.

Criminals are entering Parliament and state legislatures and thus lawbreakers are becoming lawmakers. They are pushing the country to chaos. Strangely, even after 60 years of Independence, no government at the Centre has shown the guts to enact a law barring criminals from entering legislatures.

We need tougher laws to prevent people from involving themselves in acts of terrorism, anti-national activities, organised crime, election-related offences, murder, rape, extortion, drug and human trafficking and other heinous crimes. Opposition parties are equally responsible for the mess.

It would be better if the Supreme Court and the Election Commission take the lead to ensure that there will be no elections in future until Parliament passes the Bill barring criminals from fighting the elections.

DILBAG RAI, Chandigarh



Mr Dua has highlighted the danger of felons and venal politicians to the political system. The intention of his write-up is to educate the polity and root out politicians with a criminal record. The voters are squarely responsible for the present mess. An awakened electorate can deter tainted politicians from gaining entry into the representative institutions.

Sadly, citizens’ participation in the elections is limited to voting. But if we don’t vote for those with a good track record and unimpeachable integrity, freedom from poverty, unemployment, corruption, lawlessness and militancy will remain a distant dream. The corridors of power will continue to be a haunt for criminals.

Political (or coalition) compulsion is cited as an excuse for including the tainted men in the government. Why can’t elections be held under President’s rule? And candidates should campaign only through the media while the Election Commission should meet their expenses.



The front-page editorial aptly exposes the true character of our MLAs, MPs and Ministers. Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav supported his party MP Shahabuddin at every step despite his record in murder, extortion, possession of illegal arms and so on. He was first included in the Bihar Assembly and later got elected as the Lok Sabha MP from Siwan.

Likewise, many MPs are sitting in Parliament today. Recently, 200 MLAs with criminal record contested the UP elections. Many have won and reports suggest that 22 of them got included in the Mayawati ministry.

The political system is not bothered to root out those who kidnap, rape, kill, extort and do human trafficking. The Supreme Court can alone crack the whip and haul up all the tainted candidates and ministers. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is honest and hard working, should remove tainted ministers from his Cabinet and bring improvement in the present system.

O. P. GARG, Patiala


Mr Dua has very rightly said that the political system evolved after a country’s freedom struggle and considerable labour of those who worked hard on the Constitution is unable to keep out of power structure those who 
kidnap, rape, kill, extort and do human trafficking and gun running.

There are 40 other Shahabuddins who have managed to get elected to Parliament and it is a mockery of our democratic system. The political system does not have the strength to keep such people with criminal charges out of Parliament. Our Constitution is silent on tainted ministers. Criminals, murderers, the corrupt, scamsters and history-sheeters have managed to win the election with their muscle and money power to enter Parliament and state legislatures. The entire system is polluted.

A constitutional amendment barring tainted MPs and ministers has become imperative. Clean and honest politicians cutting across party lines must come together to stem the rot.

Dr S.K. AGGARWAL, Amritsar

Dispel misgivings on mortgage

The reverse mortgage scheme announced by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is welcome as it would enable elderly house-owners to earn regular monthly income for their entire lifetime by mortgaging their house with a bank. But they have some misgivings that need to be addressed. Even a modest monthly income plus the interest thereon would accumulate to a sizeable amount over the years. What if, after their death, their children are in no position to repay the amount and get the mortgaged house released from the bank? Wouldn’t that leave the children at the mercy of the banks?

True to Indian ethos, even those parents who may have been abandoned by their children would not wish that the scheme that brings relief to them during their lifetime should prove to be a burden on their children after their death. Some elderly couples may be owning a bigger house as also having some income. They may be interested to join the scheme to augment their income but may not like to pledge the whole house. Does the scheme allow part-mortgage?

The scheme has been conceived as a social security measure for the aged. One hopes the banks do not see in it a commercial opportunity.

Wg-Cdr C.L. SEHGAL (retd), Jalandhar



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