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Supreme Court: How can a convict head a political party?

The Supreme Court on Monday taking up a petition filed in December last year by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to debar the convicted person who is banned from elections, to head a party, has said that the "prospect for democracy is far worse when a criminal has the power to choose candidates for elections under his party's banner."

CJI Dipak Misra heading the three-judge Bench has questioned the logic behind having a criminal and corrupt person to head a political party and said that the lapse was a huge blow to the purity of the election process.

The Bench examining the question whether EC should be empowered to de-register a party if it is formed by convicted persons has said that "so, is it that what you cannot do individually, you can do collectively through some of your agents." Further, they said that "this goes against our judgments that corruption in politics to be ostracized from the purity of elections."

Additional Solicitor-General Pinky Anand said the government needed time to file a response.

While the case came up for hearing, the Association for Democratic Reforms has released a report in the backdrop showing the data of criminal cases pending against Chief Ministers of different States. As per the data released 35% of the CMs have criminal charges against them and 26% CMs have declared serious criminal cases, including related to murder, attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, etc.


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