Will India’s Landmark Supreme Court Verdict On Convicted Politicians Work?

by
Fatimah Mazhar
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has said people convicted of crime cannot hold parliamentary positions.

Wikipedia

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India has said people convicted of crime cannot hold parliamentary positions.

The ruling is indeed a milestone in the country’s political history since there are quite a lot of corrupt and convicted politicians holding offices and important parliamentary positions in India. This is probably one of the many characteristics the country shares with its neighboring country Pakistan.

Though legislation in India pertaining to convicted lawmakers was more or less the same, that is, the politicians found guilty of a crime were allowed to stay as long as their cases were pending in courts. The different clause this time around is that they can't stay on regardless of appeals to higher courts which is a good step since many politicians in India use their influence and ‘resources’ to constantly keep the appeals alive.

Corruption cases mostly don’t even enter the judicial system in India. Even if they make it, the entire process is incredibly slow. Sometimes the documents get lost, witnesses change their statements or complainants withdraw their allegations over death threats.

Apparently this particular ruling passed by the Supreme Court will not allow the corrupt politicians to prolong the cases filed against them. They will not be able to buy time to complete their term in office which is great for the people and will definitely help to clean up the political system but only if the legislation is actually used.

An Indian news writer argues that the verdict will not work in India. According to him, “Our [Indian] democracy survives on votebanks, which is basically a form of group loyalty. And in such a system, expecting parties to voluntarily opt for clean candidates with little 'loyalty' over those who are tainted but effective is nothing more than daydreaming.”

He might be right, but if implemented, the verdict will certainly bring about hopes for change in Indian politics. At least the Indian Supreme Court has taken a step towards something like that. This though is yet to dawn upon the Supreme Court of Pakistan and they need it as much as Indians. 

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