Withdraw the UPA Ordinance to Protect Criminals

It was the Congress-led UPA government that brought in the latest ordinance which sought to negate a Supreme Court order summarily disqualifying MPs and MLAs convicted for serious crimes. The ordinance cleared by the UPA Cabinet and endorsed by an all-party meeting needs to be viewed in the context of the shameful credentials of our elected representatives.

The deadly combination of money power and muscle power has led to a veritable explosion of criminality in the Parliament and State Assemblies. According to their own affidavits, about 58% of our 543 elected members of Parliament are crorepatis. Nearly 30% of them – 162 to be precise – have a total of more than 400 criminal charges pending against them. About 14% or 76 MPs have serious pending criminal charges against them. In the elections to the Lok Sabha and various State Assemblies since 2008, of the 4807 elected members (MPs and MLAs) 1460 (30%) have declared criminal cases against them, while 688 (14%) have declared serious criminal cases.

But only 24 of them, i.e., only 0.5%, have declared in their affidavits that they have been convicted at some point in a court of law. In addition to the general problem of very slow court proceedings, what is responsible for this extremely low rate of conviction is obviously the political clout these powerful people enjoy. So the need of the hour is not only to disqualify convicted MPs and MLAs but also to debar people, against whom charges have been framed in serious criminal cases, especially related to communal, caste and gender violence, from contesting elections till their names are cleared. This is what the election commission also recommended, and so did the Justice Verma Committee with regard to rapists.

The CPI (ML) denounces the content of the proposed ordinance and demands its immediate withdrawal. It also warns the government against any further attempt to lend a hand to criminals in the fray and in Legislatures.

Liberation Archive