India

SC dismisses plea seeking minimum qualification for MLAs/MPs

18 Jul 2017 | By Vaneet Randhawa

The SC has dismissed a petition that sought to fix "minimum qualifications for becoming an MP or MLA", saying it was for the parliament to decide.

The petition by KC Agrawal had urged directions on the matter to ensure only qualified persons become lawmakers.

Three years ago, the SC had made similar observations, placing the onus on the "watchful eye of the people".

In context: Should Indian Netas worry? Education, crime under scrutiny

StatsTo put things in perspective: Number of under-matriculates has increased

Overall, the educational level of the 16th Lok Sabha has fallen. The percentage of MPs with a graduate degree has fallen marginally to 75% in 2014, as compared to 79% of the 2009 batch.

On the other hand, the percentage of lawmakers who don't even have a matriculate degree increased from 3% to 13%.

However, doctoral degree holders increased from 3% to 6%.

CriminalsOne-third of the electoral college also face criminal cases

According to a report, 33% of the electoral college has criminal cases filed against them. 34% of Lok Sabha MPs and 19% of Rajya Sabha MPs had self-declared criminal cases against themselves.

20% of them are serious charges.

Of the various parties, the BJP has 31% lawmakers facing such charges, Congress has 26%, Trinamool Congress has 29%, CPI(M) has 49%, and CPI has 58%.

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SC had rapped EC over "silence" on criminalization of politics

The Election Commission attracted SC's wrath for being silent on the issue of decriminalization of politics. The court questioned if the EC's hesitation to provide its "free view" was inspired by the Centre's opinion against life ban on criminals from fighting polls.

PetitionPlea also sought prosecution of candidates for corruption

The petition had also sought that electoral candidates and their agents be prosecuted for corruption under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

However, the SC pointed out that such candidates are already liable for prosecution under the Act. Agents can be charged under the IPC, it said.

In fact, the related Section 123 has been defined for over 50 years, it observed.

18 Jul 2017SC dismisses plea seeking minimum qualification for MLAs/MPs