Sixty-five percent of the sitting MLAs in the present State Assembly have criminal cases against them, according to an assessment by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Kerala Election Watch.

Civil society organisations analysed the self-sworn affidavits of 132 elected members out 140 that were submitted prior to the 2016 elections and found that 86 were facing criminal cases, while 21% MLAs had declared ‘serious’ criminal cases against them.

The criteria for ‘serious’ criminal cases include offences for which maximum punishment is five years or more, non-bailable cases, electoral malpractices, loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnap, rape, cases under Representation of the People Act (Section 8), Prevention of Corruption Act and crimes against women. Two members had cases related to attempt to murder, while one had declared cases in connection with crime against women.

Several MLAs had faced cases registered under the provisions of Kerala Prevention of Damage for Private Property and Payment of Compensation Ordinance 2019 while participating in protests that had turned violent. Among the provisions under the Indian Penal Code, some of the common clauses included 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) and 147, 148, 149 (related to rioting).

The parties, including Janata Dal(Secular), Kerala Congress (B), Kerala Congress (Jacob), Nationalist Congress Party and Congress (Secular) had one MLA each who had faced criminal cases.

The number of MLAs having criminal cases against them jumped from 47% in 2011 to 65% in 2016. Fifty-nine of the 126 members, whose self-sworn affidavits were analysed, had faced criminal cases in 2011. Of this, 11 had criminal cases against them coming under the ‘serious’ category of offences.

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