Financial Express

A total of 363 MPs and MLAs have declared criminal cases against them, an analysis of 2,495 candidate affidavits by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found. The lawmakers face charges framed against them by the court for offences falling under Section 8(1), (2) and (3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

As per the ADR report, these 363 include 296 MLAs and 67 MPs. With 83, BJP tops the list of parties whose members (both MPs and MLAs) have declared criminal charges against them. The Congress stands second on the list with 47 and AITC third with 25 of its lawmakers facing criminal cases.

Among the elections, the 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw the participation of 67 MPs who had declared criminal charges against them, followed by Bihar assembly elections 2020 where 54 MLAs having declared criminal charges contested.

Surprisingly, four Union Ministers and 35 Ministers of State Assemblies have declared criminal charges against them. All four Union Ministers – Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Satyapal Singh Baghel, Kailash Choudhary and Ashwini Kumar Choubey – are from the BJP and face charges as serious as abduction, dacoity and attempts to cause death or grievous injury.

On an average, the criminal cases faced by MPs, against whom charges have been framed, have been pending since 7 years while those faced by MLAs have been pending since 6 years.

The report also revealed that 24 Lok Sabha MPs have a total of 43 criminal cases pending against them for 10 years or more and 111 sitting MLAs have a total of 315 criminal cases pending against them for 10 years or more.

Under Section 8 of the RP Act, 1951, if convicted, the MPs and MLAs will face disqualification from being Member of the Parliament as well ass Member of the Legislative Assembly or Member of the Legislative Council of the state.

Sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) of Section 8 of the Act provide that a person convicted of an offence mentioned in any of these sub-sections shall stand disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his/her release.

The offences listed under these sub-sections include murder, rape, dacoity, robbery, kidnapping, crimes against women, bribery, corruption, money laundering and many more.

In two separate judgments on August 10, the Supreme Court asked political parties to publish pending criminal cases against their candidates within 48 hours of their nomination for the ticket, reiterating and strengthening its 2020 order. The court has also ruled that states cannot withdraw cases against MPs and MLAs without the corresponding high court’s nod, something that has become increasingly common.

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