The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the Parliament and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to take effective measures to ‘remove criminals from politics’ and break the unholy nexus among them, politicians and bureaucrats.
A bench comprising Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh made the observations while rejecting the bail plea of BSP MP Atul Kumar Singh a.k.a. Atul Rai.
The court said it is the responsibility of Parliament to show its collective will to restrain criminals from entering politics or legislature to save democracy and ensure that the country governed on democratic principles and the rule of law.
The court said that considering the criminal history of 23 cases against Rai, might of the accused, evidence on record and the possibility tampering with the evidence, it did not find any ground to grant bail to him at this stage.
Rai was booked by the Hazratganj police in Lucknow for abetting the suicide of a girl and her witness outside the Supreme Court in August last year.
During the course of hearing, the bench came across that in 2004, 24 per cent of Lok Sabha MPs had criminal cases pending, which increased to 30 per cent in 2009 elections.
In 2014, it went up to 34 per cent and in 2019, 43 per cent MPs elected to the Lok Sabha were having criminal cases pending against them.
The bench said despite the fact that the Supreme Court has taken notice of criminalisation of politics and imperative needs of electoral reforms, Parliament and the Election Commission have not taken adequate measures to protect the Indian democracy from going into the hands of criminals, thugs and law-breakers.
“No one can dispute that the present-day politics is caught in crime, identity, patronage, muscle and money network. Nexus between crime and politics is a serious threat to democratic values and governance based on the rule of law. Elections of Parliament and state legislature, and even for local bodies and panchayats are very expensive affairs,” the court said.
“There is an unholy alliance between organised crime, politicians and the bureaucrats,” it added.
The court said the phenomenon has eroded the credibility, effectiveness and impartiality of the law enforcement agencies and the administration.
The court noted that accused such as Rai won over witnesses, influenced investigation and tampered with evidence by using his money, muscle and political power.
“This has resulted in a lack of trust and confidence in the administration and justice delivery system of the country,” it pointed out.