Persons with criminal background should not contest elections: Madras HC
Noting that persons with criminal background are becoming policy makers in several states, the Madras High Court raised a question from the Centre as to why it has not enacted any law to prohibit candidates with criminal background from contesting elections to the Parliament as well as State legislatures as suggested by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on September 25, 2018 in the leading case of Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India.
In a case (Jamuna v. The Secretary to Government, Government of India) before the Hon’ble Madras High Court, a division bench comprising of Justices N. Kirubakaran and V. L. Velumani observed that numerous people with criminal background are accommodated in political parties and stated,
“The same has to be prevented and the system has to be cleansed. This is possible, only if the top leaders of our political parties are firm in not admitting the criminals in their political parties"
The Court, while considering a habeas corpus petition regarding a person detained under the Puducherry Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act, 2008, observed that political clout resulted in a delay of three years in granting sanction to prosecute the accused. The accused, a Puducherry-based man is alleged of having hurled country-made bombs in an attempt to murder rival gang members.
The bench observed that the delay in granting sanction for prosecution was only due to political support enjoyed by the accused. While noting that not even investigation was completed for a period of 5 years, the bench further stated,
"This would speak about his clout with political parties, especially ruling parties and Police. But for political interference, Police would have filed charge sheets".
"It is appearing in the Media that rowdy gangs are operated by many politicians, communal and religious leaders throughout the Country. There seems to be a syndicate between the police force, political leaders and rowdy gangs and hence, the safety and security of the people are jeopardised."
The Court posed various queries from the Centre and listed the matter for further hearing.