Nowadays a big funny petition is being debated in the Supreme Court. It has demanded that any MLA or MP who has been convicted in criminal cases, why should not he be thrown out of politics for life? At present, according to the Representation of the People Act of 1951, if a leader is convicted, he can neither contest any election nor become an office-bearer of any political party for six years.
After six years, if he wants, he can dance again. Now if such leaders are banned for life, will our politics not be purified? Fearing such stringent sanctions, what would the politicians not want to be saved from committing crimes etc.? Ashwin Upadhyay, who presented this petition, argues that if a policeman or a government employee is sent to jail for a crime, then his job ends forever or not?
As far as the leader is concerned, for him politics is not the only means of his livelihood like a government job. That is public service. He has a hobby. His reputation is fulfilled. If he is taken out of politics, he cannot die of hunger. This argument has also been supported by the Election Commission of India, but the Election Commission itself cannot change any law. He does not even have the authority to make a new law. In such a situation, if the government wants, it can take some concrete initiatives.
It can make such a law by bringing a resolution in the Parliament, but why would any government want to make such a law? If he makes such a law, then many of his big leaders will be out of politics. Many Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, MPs and MLAs of the country have eaten the air of jail like ordinary criminals and many are still rotting in jail. I am not counting their names here. If such a law is made against them, then there will be an earthquake in the politics of the country.
It is also true that many leaders were pushed behind bars by their rival governments on the basis of false allegations. Besides, why would one be surprised if the ruling party resorts to this law to oust one of its strongest opponents from politics? Therefore, while deciding this petition, the court will have to consider many issues.
The middle way could also be to increase the period of deportation of criminals from politics from 6 years to 10 years. In 10 years, even good leaders lose their wind. It is very important to free politics from criminals but why can’t the real repentants be given a second chance?