Supreme Court to consider banning charge-sheeted candidates from polls

The Supreme Court has today agreed to hear a petition that seeks to ban anyone who has been charge-sheeted in a criminal case from contesting elections in India.

BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay, who is among one of the most prolific filers of public interest litigation in India, is among those who had filed such petitions seeking disqualification of such candidates in elections.

The petitioners alleged that the current law — which prohibits only convicted people from standing for elections — is being misused by criminal politicians.

Charge sheets are filed by the police or the CBI if they are convinced that a case can be made out against the accused in a case, after conducting their investigations.

According to the petition, criminal politicians take advantage of the long duration of trials — often stretching to a decade or more — to fight elections.

It is estimated that 34% of the members of the Indian Parliament have criminal cases pending against them and at least 25% of them are involved in serious crimes such as rape, murder, attempt to murder, loot and dacoity.

The case will be heard by a five-member constitutional bench.

According to current law, any convicted person is prohibited from fighting elections for six years.