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21 Mar 2017

EC seeks lifetime ban on convicted politicians

In an attempt to decriminalize politics, the Election Commission has approached the Supreme Court seeking a ban on convicted politicians from contesting elections.

It has also sought special courts for fast disposal of cases related to politicians, judiciary members and public servants.

Other proposals to decriminalize politics, including banning paid news and making bribery a cognisable offence, are pending with the Law Commission.

In context

Election Commission seeks lifetime ban on convicted politicians

Who will be affected?

If the Supreme Court approves Election Commission's proposal to bar convicted politicians, it might affect the careers of big names facing criminal charges, like Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, BJP's Gulab Chand Kataria and Rajendra Rathore, BSP's Ram Karan Arya, and RJD's Ram Vichar Rai.

31% of Modi's cabinet face criminal cases

Union cabinet

31% of Modi's cabinet face criminal cases

24 of 78 union ministers in PM Narendra Modi's cabinet have criminal cases registered against them, including 18 with serious charges related to murder, kidnapping and crimes against women, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch.

Prominent names among the 24 include Nitin Gadkari, Ram Vilas Paswan, Uma Bharti, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Dharmendra Pradhan and Maneka Gandhi.

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The taint extends to states

Poll watchers found that of 620 ministers in state assemblies, 201 faced criminal charges, including 13 with cases related to murder and communal violence.

Jharkhand took the lead, with nine of 11 ministers facing serious charges. Delhi (four of seven), Telangana (nine of 17), Maharashtra (18 of 39) and Bihar (11 of 28) also scored high on criminality of politicians.

PIL also seeks minimum qualification, maximum age limit

The Public Interest Litigation in the matter was filed by advocate Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay on March 3. Apart from seeking barring of convicted politicians from polls, it had also sought implementation of proposed electoral reforms, and a minimum qualification and age limit for people's representatives.

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