The Supreme Court has decided to hear the plea to put a lifetime ban on Parliamentarians and State Legislators, both former and sitting, to contest the elections if convicted for criminal cases. The Bench led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana said that the plan raises a 'vexed question'. He also mentioned that a lifetime ban could have far-reaching ramifications and consequences.
The Hindu quoted the statement of the Apex Court in its 12-page order, "We deem it necessary to hear the matter at length on an appropriate date, after giving an opportunity to all the stakeholders". Senior Advocate Vikas Singh had suggested the plea. The Advocate said that if bureaucrats can be fired for stealing even ₹10, the Court should banish the politicians convicted for heinous crimes from contesting elections altogether.
The CJI led Bench said that more Special CBI Courts need to be set up to ensure easy accessibility to witnesses and reduce the burden on the existing Special CBI courts in places where there are more than 100 pending cases. As per a report submitted by the special agency to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover, there is an alarming tendency of CBI cases.
Previous Pleas For Barring Politicians
Another Advocate had previously brought a similar plea to the Judiciary's notice, but the Centre had outrightly opposed it. The Centre had said that there are adequate provisions in place to deal with politicians with criminal cases. It had mentioned that the elected representatives were barred from contesting elections if they faced conviction for more than two years in specified criminal cases.
After the 2019 elections, the Lok Sabha saw a 26 per cent increase in Parliamentarians convicted with criminal cases. Out of the 539 candidates, as many as 233 politicians, or 43 per cent had criminal charges. In 2014, 185 Lok Sabha members faced criminal charges.