Mohammad Ali, The Hindu
Days after the Supreme Court ruled that a convicted elected representative cannot continue in office, an analysis of the affidavits of Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assemblies, has revealed that over 30 per cent of them have criminal cases registered against them.
According to an analysis done by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW), 30 per cent of sitting Lok Sabha MPs and 31 per cent of sitting MLAs have criminal cases registered against them. Of these criminal cases, 14 per cent in case of current Lok Sabha MPs and 15 per cent of the total sitting MLAs are registered under serious criminal charges.
To get a sense of criminalisation of politics, the ADR and the NEW analysed the self-sworn affidavits of a total of 4,807 sitting MPs and MLAs. These affidavits were submitted by the politicians to the Election Commission of India prior to contesting elections.
When it comes to party-wise distribution of MPs and MLAs with criminal cases, the Indian National Congress, has the lowest percentage (21 per cent) with criminal cases —of its 1,433 elected representatives, 305 are facing such charges. On the other hand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the ruling party in Jharkhand, has earned the dubious distinction of having the highest percentage of MPs and MLAs —82 per cent — with criminal cases.
Sixty-four per cent of MPs and MLAs who have been elected on RJD ticket have declared criminal cases against themselves; whereas in the Samajwadi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party the figure is 48 per cent and 31 per cent respectively. Of the 1,017 MPs and MLAs from the BJP, 313 have declared criminal cases.
Among the States only Manipur has no MLA with declared criminal cases in its 2012 Assembly.
The Jharkhand 2009 Assembly has the highest percentage of elected representatives (74 per cent) who declared criminal cases against them. As many as 55 MLAs in the Jharkhand Assembly are facing charges.
Among the recent elections that have been analysed by ADR and NEW, the Bihar 2010 Assembly has 58 per cent MLAs who have declared criminal cases against themselves. In the Uttar Pradesh 2012 Assembly, there are 47 per cent MLAs with criminal cases.