Source: 
The Times Of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-01-23/mumbai/36504391_1_mps-and-mlas-political-parties-criminal-cases
Author: 
Madhavi Rajadhyaksha
Date: 
25.01.2013
City: 
Mumbai

MUMBAI: Former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala (78) and his son Ajay Chautala were sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment by a special CBI court for illegal recruitment of teachers, highlighting the need to decriminalise Indian politics.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has appealed to political parties to stop giving tickets to candidates facing criminal charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), and fast-tracking of cases which are pending against existing Members of Parliament and Legislative assemblies.

On analysing affidavits submitted to the Election Commission of India, the ADR found that 31% of the 4,835 sitting MPs and MLAs had declared criminal cases pending against them.

Where corruption was concerned, 98 candidates contesting elections to the posts of MPs and MLAs had pending charges under the anti-corruption legislation. Of the major parties, theIndian National Congress had given tickets to 24 such candidates, the BSP to nine, AIADMK to seven, SAD to 6, DMK and BJP to five and INLD to four, stated the ADR. " Out of these 98 candidates, 36 candidates won the elections. These include four sitting MPs in Lok Sabha 2009, three sitting MPs in the current Rajya Sabha and 29 MLAs in various state assemblies," it pointed out.

It is of course true that those charged with criminal charges may be proven innocent at a later date. But given the long-drawn judicial processes and rising public frustration with corruption, it is perhaps time for political parties to pro-actively weed out the corrupt.

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