Beyond courts: Vendetta politics muddies the logic for speedier resolution of cases against MPs, MLAs

Source: TOI

Relevance: checking criminalization of justice

Synopsis: Given the rise in the number of politicians with criminal cases, there is a need for reform in political and judicial systems.

Introduction

The Supreme Court’s push to fast-track criminal cases against politicians isn’t making great progress. In fact, a rise of 18% has been seen in criminal cases pending against sitting and former MPs and MLAs.

Constitutional Provision

In the 2013 judgement, SC ruled that the Representation of people act should have provisions to instantly disqualify convicted lawmakers.

This had given urgency to tackle the criminalization of politics, but after 8 years the progress is still disappointing.

What can be done

There are a lot of cases related to different categories like riots, unlawful offences, corruption etc which are pending against the politicians. We need to

  • Prioritize the most heinous crimes like sexual offences, corruption, economic offences
  • Close the cases which are pending with CBI & Enforcement Directorate (ED) , which are never going to reach the trial
Read more: CBI ED cant keep sword hanging over accused
Challenges in closing the pending cases:

However, one should not be overzealous in this regard. We have to keep in mind that:

  • First, Politicians may frame their opponents for vendetta. The exercise of fast-tracking mustn’t descend into a witch-hunt against the opposition parties.
  • Secondly, there are problems of political favouritism. This is evident when the government of the day withdraws cases against its favourite. Recently, the SC has ruled that state governments must take high court approval before the withdrawal of cases.

Way forward:

Further, there is also a problem of pendency and the slow pace of the Indian judiciary. This is compounded by a lack of a sufficient number of judges. So setting up special courts may comprise hearing of matters of ordinary citizens.

  • India must make arrangements for retired Judges with meritorious records to help in speeding the disposal of cases.
  • Then there is need for Judicial, investigation and police reforms.

Terms to know

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