There has rarely been any lack of talk about ridding Parliament and Assemblies of people with criminal backgrounds, but what has been done at the ground level is reflected in the presence of such representatives in the legislature.
The situation is such that the cases that continue to be filed against such representatives, the speed of their hearing is such that it does not affect their status of continuing as MPs or MLAs for years.
Despite frequent questions being raised regarding the disposal of cases of such tainted public representatives, no concrete system has been made in this direction.
Although the Supreme Court has expressed concern on this issue before, but on Thursday the court again took a strict stance on it and issued several guidelines on speedy disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs.
Thus, the apex court found it difficult to give uniform guidelines to the lower courts, but clearly said that a special bench should be constituted in the High Courts for such cases; Lower courts should take suo motu cognizance to monitor criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs.
In fact, lateness is seen in most of such cases and many times there is no strong reason for it.
Due to lack of will, the cases remain pending for a long time.
Now the Supreme Court has said that the High Court can call special lower courts to report on the status of cases against MPs-MLAs in criminal cases.
Further, hearing of cases against Members of Parliament, MLAs will not be adjourned except in rare circumstances. In this sequence, adequate infrastructure and technical facilities will be provided.
It can be said that instead of just expressing concern about this problem for a long time, these instructions of the Supreme Court are steps towards a solution.
But it will depend on how much will the government and concerned departments have to implement these guidelines.
Parallel to the concern expressed about the corruption of the entire system due to people coming from the world of crime to reach Parliament and Assemblies, a question is what is being done at the ground level to end this trend.
Figures of people with criminal background who try their hand in the country’s politics and reach the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies often come to the fore.
Not long ago, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) had said in one of its reports that about forty percent of the sitting MPs have criminal cases registered against them.
Of these, the number of cases involving serious allegations like murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women is twenty-five percent.
After the latest strictness of the Supreme Court, if any concrete initiative is taken and a system is made, then the cases related to these can be disposed of quickly.
But the question is, how can this problem be overcome given the rules and regulations regarding permission to contest elections to become an MP or MLA despite clear allegations of being involved in crimes? Many accused of heinous crimes like murder or rape regularly take tickets from a mainstream party, contest elections with a clear declaration during nomination, but they are not able to be stopped by anyone from political parties to the Election Commission.
Obviously, without setting clear rules and regulations to prevent people with criminal background from contesting elections, it will remain difficult to free the Parliament and Legislative Assemblies from tainted representatives.