Report: A whopping 3,816 criminal cases against 1,765 MPs, MLAs
In a shocking reminder of the extent of criminalization in Indian politics, a whopping 3,816 criminal cases were registered against 1,765 MPs and MLAs across the country, of which 3,045 are still pending for hearing. Overall, there are 4,896 lawmakers; thus, this figure pertains to 36% of parliamentarians and state assembly members. The Centre provided these state-wise figures in response to an affidavit filed in SC.
What did the state-wise data suggest?
Considering its law-and-order situation, high population and growing communalization, it is no surprise that UP leads with 248 MPs/MLAs facing trial and 539 pending cases. It is followed by Tamil Nadu(178), Bihar (144) and West Bengal (139). In Kerala, TN, Bihar and WB, over 300 criminal cases against legislators are pending. Notably, Maharashtra and Goa governments are yet to submit the details.
Why did the Centre furnish this data?
Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking a ban on convicted politicians contesting polls. In November'17, as the number of cases against MPs/MLAs was not available with Centre and EC, SC had granted government two months to compile this data. The decision was to be made on the number of special courts required for concluding these cases within a year.
What does the Centre plan to do now?
Based on Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) data, 1,581 cases were pending against lawmakers after 2014 polls. However, only 125 cases were decided within a year and 646 cases after another year. The Centre has now told the Supreme Court that 12 special courts with a Rs. 7.8cr budget would be set up.