Petition: Release Criminal Records of Candidates in Assembly Elections
I sent the following petition to Mr. Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India (ECI).
To September 27, 2021
Mr. Sushil Chandra
Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India (ECI)
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road
New Delhi 110 001
Petition: Release Criminal Records of Candidates in Assembly Elections
Dear Chief Election Commissioner,
I am a national award-winning journalist and founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation in Delhi. Among other social and editorial projects, I publish The Unrest news magazine that covers economic and political upheavals in the world.
I have also launched the “Punjab Legislative Assembly Election 2022” editorial section under RMN News Service to cover the Punjab Assembly election. It carries news, views, and events related to social, economic, and political developments in Punjab.
Earlier, I have also managed a comprehensive editorial section “Voter Education for Lok Sabha Election 2019 in India” to educate the Indian voters before the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
CRIMINALITY IN INDIAN POLITICS
As you know, the Supreme Court of India – with various judgments and observations – has been trying to check criminality in Indian politics. Unfortunately, however, politics has virtually become a profession for those who are history-sheeters with serious criminal records. Since most politicians in India are uneducated or uncivilized, they lack decency to participate in democratic debates.
Recently, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana remarked that there is a lack of quality debate in Parliament while enacting laws which leads to excessive litigations. His remarks subtly targeted the ineptitude of Indian politicians.
The political situation is equally bad in all the states including Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Gujarat where the Assembly elections are scheduled to take place in 2022.
Therefore, going by the observations of the Supreme Court and to stop criminality in politics, you are urged to get the criminal records of candidates in the upcoming Assembly elections released publicly. Ideally, such candidates should not be allowed to contest elections.
1. India’s leading election research organizations National Election Watch (NEW) and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) have analyzed the self-sworn latest affidavits of all 78 ministers (including Prime Minister Narendra Modi) from Lok Sabha 2019, current Rajya Sabha, and assembly elections.
2. According to the NEW-ADR report released on July 9, 2021, in a recent cabinet expansion on July 7, 2021, 43 new ministers were inducted in the cabinet. This report focuses on the criminal, financial, and education background details of the ministers in the Modi government. Out of the 78 ministers analyzed, 33 (42%) ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves.
3. Earlier, the world’s top magazine The Economist said “a penchant for criminality is an electoral asset in India.” The magazine published data about the political success of India’s “accused murderers, blackmailers, thieves, and kidnappers,” saying that 34% of India’s members of parliament (MPs) in the Lok Sabha have criminal charges filed against them.
4. The Supreme Court of India has also said that the political parties must submit the details of such “criminal” candidates to the Election Commission within 72 hours of selecting them, adding that the selection should be based on merit and not the winnability of a candidate.
5. The court said its directions shall apply to national as well as assembly elections in states. A bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman noted the alarming rise in the number of candidates with criminal charges entering the fray and decided that the top court should use its extraordinary powers to inform the citizens so they could elect the right candidates.
6. The Supreme Court order said categorically that if the political parties failed to furnish the details of the criminality of their candidates or the Election Commission failed to implement the directive, it would amount to contempt of court.
7. In September 2018, a 5-judge constitution bench had asked the Central government to immediately enact laws to ban those involved in serious crimes from contesting elections and becoming party officials.
8. The court judgment came in response to the contempt petitions against the Central government and the Election Commission, alleging that no serious efforts were made to stop the criminalization of politics despite the court order.
9. The Election Commission had said during arguments that the court order to publish criminal details of the candidates was not having any impact and suggested that political parties must be directed not to give election tickets to people with criminal cases.
10. The court had earlier ordered that candidates must publish their criminal details in the newspapers thrice after filing their nomination. The petitioner alleged that the Election Commission had not attempted to implement this order effectively.
11. As a fallout of crime and corruption in politics, the people in India are suffering under unprecedented inflation, unemployment, pollution, lawlessness, human rights abuses, injustice, and extreme misery. Thus, instead of achieving development, India continues to be an underdeveloped country.
12. Now multiple global reports reveal that India is on the verge of losing its status as a democracy. However, criminality in politics is still increasing exponentially, as political parties prefer to accept those candidates who are known for their crimes instead of their intellectual competence.
REQUEST FOR ACTION
In view of the facts stated above, you are requested to issue formal directions to all political parties in different states to publicly release the criminal details of their candidates and they should furnish a valid reason for selecting such candidates.
If the reason is not valid, the candidature of candidates with criminal records should be canceled. This action is required to stop criminality in politics and help voters take informed decisions in the elections.
This is your moral as well as professional responsibility to rescue Indians from criminal politicians who have been ruling the country for the past many decades. Therefore, I urge you to muster courage without getting intimidated to weed out criminality from our political system.
I request you to take immediate action as stated above and inform me accordingly.
ABOUT THE PETITIONER (RAKESH RAMAN)
Rakesh Raman is a national award-winning journalist and founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation. Besides working at senior editorial positions with leading media companies, he was writing an exclusive edit-page column regularly for The Financial Express (a daily business newspaper of The Indian Express Group).
Nowadays, for the past more than 10 years, he has been running his own global news services on multiple news sites covering subjects such as politics, technology, education, and entertainment. He also runs various environment protection, education awareness, and anti-corruption campaigns, and publishes research reports on different subjects.
He runs an exclusive information service on elections and politics in the U.S. and he has launched “Rural Resistance: Protests by Farmers” editorial section to cover the agricultural reforms and ongoing farmers’ protests in India. Recently, he has also started another editorial service to cover Punjab Legislative Assembly Election 2022.
He runs a community-driven anti-corruption social service “Clean House” to help the suffering residents of Delhi raise their voice against the growing corruption and injustice in housing societies where millions of people live. He has also formed an environment protection group called Green Group in Delhi.
He has created a new governance model for various state governments in India to help them introduce “Open Government” in their states by publicly disclosing and updating the personal, performance, financial, and crime details of their MLAs (Members of the Legislative Assembly). He also runs “Catch Your MLA” citizen service for the people of Delhi. It aims to help Delhi citizens hold their MLAs accountable for their dereliction of duty.
He creates and distributes a number of digital publications on different subjects such as coronavirus, environment, agriculture, corruption and transparency, law and justice, and economic and political upheavals in different parts of the world.
He had set up and managed a free school for deserving children for 5 years during 2015-2019 to impart modern education to poor children at the J.J. Colony of Dwarka, Sector 3, New Delhi. Now, after the coronavirus containment, he is again planning to start such schools for poor and disadvantaged children.
He has been facing increasing threats including death threats for his editorial and anti-corruption work. He had also been associated with the United Nations (UN) through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. Click here to see his work.
The petition is also given below in digital format.
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