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`Empower EC to keep tainted persons off polls'

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, AUG. 7. Charging a criminal offence against a person in a court of law should not be the sole criterion to label him as tainted. Neither can he be untainted merely because he has been acquitted by a court. These were the two significant points raised by the former High Court judge, K. Sukumaran, at a seminar on the `Indian Constitution and tainted Ministers' here today. It was organised by the Niyama Sameeksha Law Magazine.

However, Mr. Sukumaran said that if a higher court convicts a person of a crime, then he can be presumed tainted. But the other way might not be correct, he said. Even if the Supreme Court finds that a person is not technically guilty, it does not mean that he is untainted, said Mr. Sukumaran.

Moral responsibility

This is where the head of a Government has great moral responsibility. The Prime Minister and the Chief Minister have the moral responsibility to remove a tainted Minister from their Cabinet, Mr. Sukumaran said, adding such heads of governance are needed for a healthy democracy.

Speaking on the occasion, the chairman of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), Antony Isaac, called for a mechanism to determine before the election whether a candidate is tainted or not. The Election Commission should have adequate powers to prevent a tainted man from being elected, he said.

People should be given three months before the election to prove whether the candidate is tainted or not, he said. Referring to the issue of the former Union Minister, Shibu Soren, Prof. Isaac said that the Home Minister should come up with a complete and transparent statement on the issue.

The former chairperson of State Women's Commission, D. Sreedevi, presided over the seminar. D.B. Binu, Editor of the Niyama Sameeksha, welcomed the gathering. M.V. Benny, writer, also spoke.

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