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Experts divided on views over SC verdict on decriminalisation of politics


NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court ruling that political parties should publish details of candidates having criminal history on the website and other platforms, experts are divided on whether the judgment will deter parties from putting up such candidates in the future. 

While some say that the judgment will lead to elimination or deterrence of criminalisation of politics, a few others think that it is too early to say.

"The ruling is a welcome one. Winnability is one thing but the people deserve candidates with a clean background. Also, one has to keep in mind that a candidate has no powers and once elected, there is every possibility that he/she can misuse or abuse power.

I think the apex court judgment will deter political parties from fielding candidates with criminal cases against them as they will have a lot of explaining to do,” Professor Yashwant Kumar Ranjan of the political science department at Delhi University said.

Echoing his view was a research scholar from the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR). “I think it’s a good move by the Supreme Court. The ruling, while deterring parties, will also make them re-think about fielding candidates in general.

Also, it will help the political landscape of the country where we can expect more clean candidates contesting and winning and, in turn, expect cleaner governance in the future,” she said.

Political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, however, disagreed saying the answer cannot be black or white. "There are laws already in place that disqualify candidates with criminal cases, if they are convicted or have a charge sheet filed with their names.

That has not deterred political parties from fielding them in elections. Also, there are cases against the prime minister, the president of the Congress party. I don’t think this ruling will eliminate criminalisation of politics," he said.

The apex court gave 48-hour deadline to the political parties for publishing the details of such candidates once they are selected, failing which it warned them of initiating  contempt of court.