The Supreme Court of India stated on Tuesday that it could not add more disqualifications to the Representation of the People Act and left it to Parliament to decide whether candidates chargesheeted in serious criminal cases should be allowed to contest elections.
It said that the country was facing an increasing trend of criminalisation of politics and added that the “nation eagerly waits for such legislation (against criminalisation of politics)”.
The bench, heading by outgoing Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, directed the candidates to write in bold in their election forms the criminal cases pending against them and inform their parties of the same. It directed political parties to mention pending cases against legislators on their websites and publish the same in a widely circulated newspaper at least three times after the nomination is filed.
The bench also comprised of Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra. It was hearing a batch of petitions seeking disqualification of chargesheeted lawmakers from contesting elections. The petitions were filed by NGO Public Interest Foundation and Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.
Reacting to the judgment, Upadhyay was quoted as saying by news agency ANI, “We had demanded from SC to ward off candidates from contesting polls against whom charges have been framed in heinous crimes. Validating our demand, SC has directed Parliament to pass a law that can stop criminalisation of politics.”