The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that it could not disqualify politicians from contesting elections merely because they’ve been charge-sheeted. The five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra said urged the legislature to consider framing law to ensure decriminalisation of politics, reported Livelaw website.
This was after BJP Leader Ashwini Updhyaya, former CEC JM Lyngdoh & NGO, Public Interest Foundation filed a petitions.
Reacting to the judgement, noted Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said it was a correct verdict. He tweeted, “This SC judgement saying that election candidates can’t be disqualified from contesting merely because charges have been framed (before conviction)is absolutely correct.Charges are framed on police chargesheet without defence evidence. Will be dangerous to disqualify them on this.”
The bench made several suggestions towards the end including that all candidates seeking to contest elections shall disclose their criminal antecedents which the concerned political parties shall display on their official website. The top could also asked the political parties to widely publicise the background of their candidates.
The bench also said that the parliament must make law to ensure candidates with criminal antecedents don’t enter public life and take part in law making.
“It’s the responsibility of all to enforce the law,” NDTV quoted the chief justice as saying.
Under the current law, a politicians is barred from contesting elections at the time of conviction.