Criminalisation of Politics or Politicisation of Criminals

Sitaram Yechurry member of the CPI(M) Politburo recently spoke about the “Maturing of the Indian democracy” in an article in the Times Of India. He referred to the 4 C’s in Indian politics, Corruption, Crime, Communalism and casteism He further goes on to say that from these it is crime which manifests itself in all the other factors. Corruption is a crime, dividing people along communal lines and spreading hatred in society is a crime, suppressing members of the lower caste is also a crime. Therefore it is crime which is the common factor amoung all these C’s. The nature of the crime which we are referring to with regard to politics is of a different nature. It is said that “society creates the crime the criminal executes it” this quote however applies to those offenders who commit a crime due to certain extenuating circumstances, in which the criminal is placed in such a situation in which he is forced to commit a crime. But the crimes committed by Politicians mentioned above cannot be placed in this category. Crimes committed to gain political mileage cannot be justified.

Also the parties fielding candidates with a criminal record is a matter of concern. The Vohra committee report on the criminalization of politics has brought in some changes that candidates have to disclose their criminal pending cases, and there is a law to prevent certain candidates from contesting polls if they are found guilty under certain offences. But we also the know the judicial process in our country is very slow and can take decades when the matter travels from the lower courts to higher courts.  Hence until the matter stands finally disposed the accused simply remains an accused and has the rights to contest polls and hold public offices and offices in government.

Hence the criminalization of politics eventually leads to the politicization of criminals.