New Delhi

New Delhi: The Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) has demanded that the government repeal the amendments made to the Code of Criminal Procedure. ADR is an organisation that analyses affidavits of politicians before elections. It has even come out with post-election analysis of people with criminal backgrounds who have made it to the legislature.

The government recently amended the CrPC making it mandatory for the authorities to seek permission of the speaker of the assembly and the chief secretary before taking any action against elected representatives and bureaucrats. Elected representatives of corporations and councils were also covered in this.

In a press statement about its previous ananlysis, ADR stated that as per the 2014 elections results, 57% of the MLAs in state had declared criminal cases. Of these, 31% had declared cases where charges had been framed.

Maharashtra is second highest after Jharkhand in the number of MLAs with criminal cases. Cases on some of them range from murder, attempt to murder, crime against women, causing communal disharmony, robbery, dacoity and kidnapping.

Its analysis of local body elections in Navi Mumbai showed that out of 105 winners analysed, 17 had declared criminal cases and out of this 13 had declared serious criminal cases.

“In view of such grave statistics regarding the composition of the Maharashtra assembly and municipalities, further restricting the power of filing an FIR against an elected representative would bode ill not just for legislature but for the very fabric of democracy in the country. This decision limits the accountability of elected representatives and bureaucrats and shields them from the application of law and justice. Elected representatives are repositories of public trust and the sanctity of their position in the legislature can only be upheld through scrutiny and accountability,” read its press release demanding that the amendments be scrapped.

Professor Jagdeep Chhokar, founder member of ADR, said: “This decision of the Maharashtra cabinet goes directly against Article 14 of the Constitution of India which guarantees ‘equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws’ to ‘any person within the territory of India’. This decision obviously gives ‘greater protection’ to MLAs and bureaucrats, and therefore makes them ‘more equal’ than ordinary citizens.”

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