I am astounded by the fact that a prominent politician was
implicated in 41 criminal cases! Every time there is a murder
in his village or town, this politician is a suspect. However,
our criminal justice system ensured that the "honour"
of this politician was restored by acquitting him in all
cases through "due process of law".
status quo cannot be allowed to continue as the citizens
are paying a heavy price. A senior police official narrated
a painful incident - a girl was brutally raped and killed.
When the case came up for hearing, the parents of the girl
turned hostile, and the accused went scot-free! The parents
turned hostile probably under duress; or they could not
withstand the long drawn out judicial process. Whatever
might be the reason, the incident clearly demonstrates that
the failure of criminal justice system is gradually assuming
reasons for this are fairly evident. The police personnel
who have to attend to a wide range of functions - from regulating
political rallies to VIP security and traffic control -
should also look into murder cases. As a consequence, our
police personnel have neither the time nor the skills to
properly investigate the crimes. To compound the misery,
our judicial process is excruciatingly slow, which wears
down the complainants, and discourages them from approaching
courts. Further, perjury has become endemic. It has become
a common practice to deploy tutored witnesses during trials.
All this prompts an individual to approach a local thug
for settling the disputes, who then emerges as a person
with influence and political contacts.
this is so, then what prompts political parties to nominate
criminal candidates? Today, all major parties are ideologically
similar and do not have a strong cadre base. In this context,
the political parties have to depend on local thugs and
have to invest vast financial resources to generate electoral
majorities. Over a period of time this dependence has increased
substantially and the 'goonda' of a 'mohalla' gradually
emerged as a respectable leader of a political party. We
should now reverse this process. The question is how?
of antecedents of candidates and public pressure on political
parties will certainly help. But we need to do more. First,
there is an urgent need to revamp the police functions of
the state by separating the crime investigative responsibility
from other duties like maintenance of law and order. Further,
the crime investigation and prosecution wing should be insulated
from unnecessary political interference. Second, it is imperative
to create local courts to decide on petty cases in a time
bound manner. This will reduce the burden on the higher
judiciary, thereby helping them to adjudicate the cases
pertaining to grave offences quickly and justly. And finally,
the internal structure of the political parties should be
democratized, which will instill confidence and strengthen
the cadre of the political parties.
is no point wringing our hands in despair. We need sensible
and practical steps to clearnse our politics and improve
governance. Criminalization of politics is no exception.