Follow the order
Sir — Politics and crime are entangled to such an extent in India that the Supreme Court has been forced to repeatedly appeal to political parties to take steps to curb the criminalization of politics (“Blood ties”, Aug 12). In a welcome ruling, the apex court had held several political parties, including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), guilty of contempt for violating an earlier order to notify the Election Commission of the criminal antecedents of candidates within a stipulated time.
The number of elected policymakers who have pending criminal cases against them is staggering. The Supreme Court has rightly observed that there is much room for intervention and has directed the EC to create a dedicated mobile application that lists the pending criminal cases against public representatives so that voters can make an informed choice. But considering the low literacy rate in rural India, will it be possible for a vast majority of voters to access this information?
Sir — It is alarming that according to a survey done two years ago, nearly half of the members of the 17th Lok Sabha had criminal cases against them. The Supreme Court must be lauded for proactively trying to weed out this malaise from the system. It is crucial that political parties, too, take strict measures against party members guilty of criminal conduct. At present, there is a symbiotic relationship between criminals and political parties; this link needs to be broken.
Sir — It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court had to pull up nine political parties for failing to adhere to its earlier directive of declaring the criminal antecedents of candidates. No one can deny that a large number of elected representatives are facing serious criminal accusations. But rather than holding party members accountable, state governments often withdraw pending cases against parliamentarians. How long must the people of India wait before Indian politics is purged of criminals?
Sir — The directive by the Supreme Court prohibiting state governments from withdrawing criminal cases against party members without the express approval of the high courts is welcome. All political parties must strictly adhere to this ruling.
Sir — The Delhi High Court has directed the Animal Welfare Board of India to file an affidavit disclosing the status of animals from circuses that have closed down. Last year, the court was informed by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations that although 740 animals are registered with the AWBI, only 28 had been found. This is shocking. Most circus animals are kept in inhumane conditions; the AWBI should have strictly monitored their well-being. There is no point in passing laws regarding the welfare of animals if the latter seem to have disappeared as if by magic from under the AWBI’s nose.