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SC won’t disqualify lawmakers facing criminal trial, leaves it to Parliament

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New Delhi, Sep 25: The Supreme Court has refused to disqualify lawmakers, who have pending criminal cases against them. The court has left it to the wisdom of the Parliament to come up with a law to deal with the issue.

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The Supreme Court however asked candidates and political parties to give wide publicity to criminal cases pending against them in the print, electronic and local media.

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The court said that such publicity must be given after the candidate files his or her nomination papers before contesting the elections.

The directive came after the SC heard a batch of petitions in which a directive was sought to disqualify lawmakers from contesting elections, if they were facing criminal trial.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra said that the Parliament must make laws to prevent persons with serious criminal charges pending against them from entering the legislature or be part of the law making process. The court observed that corruption and criminalisation of politics is hitting at the roots of democracy and hence the Parliament should take urgent steps to curb this menace.

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The court observed that it would not cross the Laxman Rekha and enter the legislative arena to provide for the disqualification of candidates who are facing serious criminal cases. However it asked candidates to put out in bold letters his or her criminal antecedents in the affidavit.

The court further said that each political party will put up on its website the criminal antecedents of each of its candidates so as to allow voters to make an informed choice.

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Justice Misra observed that the country is tired of being ruled by money and muscle power. Criminalisation should be kept at bay and is not a malignancy that is incurable. The Parliament must swing into action, the CJI said while observing that criminals in politics is nothing but a liability.

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