The Indian Supreme Court on Thursday directed all political parties in India to list reasons for giving tickets to candidates with criminal records on their websites, in a move to bring more transparency and accountability in the election process.
The court also directed the political parties to furnish a compliance report with the Election Commission and said contempt proceeding can be initiated if compliance report is not filed with the Election Commission, reports Hindustan Times.
"Nearly half of the newly-elected Lok Sabha members have criminal charges against them, a 26 % increase as compared to 2014," according to an analytical report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) published by The Times of India.
Of the 539 winning candidates analyzed by ADR, as many as 233 MPs or 43% have criminal charges. Of the 233 newly MPs in 17th Lok Sabha, BJP has 116 MPs where 39% of its winning candidates are with criminal cases, followed by 29 MPs (57%) from Congress, 13 (81%) from the JDU, 10 (43%) from DMK and nine (41%) from TMC.
The top court also directed that the ability of a candidate to win elections should not be a ruse for fielding a candidate with criminal cases against him.
The details of the candidates with a criminal background, said the apex court, should be published in one local newspaper and one national newspaper and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
The Election Commission, during the hearing on January 24, acknowledged that the directions issued by the apex court in 2018 to give wide publicity to the criminal antecedents of candidates contesting elections failed to yield the desired result of decriminalising politics.
There has been an alarming increase in the number of candidates with criminal background in the last four general elections, observed the Supreme Court.
Contempt proceedings can be initiated if the compliance report not filed with the Election Commission.