Ridding politics of crime, criminals – The Economic Times

Clipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/et-editorial/ridding-politics-of-crime-criminals/articleshow/85250511.cmsSynopsis

Speedy prosecution of people in politics would deter actual criminals and protect those facing false cases. This would amount to treating politicians as a special category and seemingly violate the constitutional guarantees of equality and against discrimination. Elected representatives in legislatures represent all the people.

We share the Supreme Court’s concern over an increasing tendency for elected representatives to have a string of criminal cases tagged on to them, but we do not share its optimism that politics can be rid of crime and criminals through institutional reform. Good sense among voters is the ultimate guardian of democracy. Minus that, no institutional measure is likely to be of avail, except fast-track courts for people in public life.

Speedy prosecution of people in politics would deter actual criminals and protect those facing false cases. This would amount to treating politicians as a special category and seemingly violate the constitutional guarantees of equality and against discrimination. Elected representatives in legislatures represent all the people. To the extent that someone is being prosecuted in her capacity as an MP or an MLA who legislates on behalf of all the people, it entails no discrimination or privilege. Of course, the legislator in her individual capacity could be getting a privilege or being discriminated against (depending on whether what is going to be established is innocence or guilt) by being prosecuted faster, but that is incidental to and subsumed in the public good achieved by prosecuting the people’s representative. Having charges framed against someone is no guide to actual culpability. In the recent past, only 3% of those prosecuted for sedition have been found guilty. Conflating charges such as unlawful assembly or disturbing the peace that are attracted by holding protest demonstrations with charges of rape and plunder would be a mistake. Voters, and not courts, have to exercise discernment as to who is fit to represent them.

We have MPs who hail Gandhi’s assassin. We have MPs who look out for the interests of certain industrial houses. A democracy is only as good as the refinement of its people’s democratic sensibility. What failure to develop that can result in is evident in incidents such as the storming of the Capitol in the US. Political parties must compete to enhance that sensibility.

Did you Know?

Stock score of Supreme Holdings & Hospitality (India) Ltd moved down by 5 in 3 months on a 10-point scale.View Latest Stock Report »

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