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Criminalisation of politics must end, says SC

By Our Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI, JULY 12. The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to hold talks with political parties to find out ways and means of ending criminalisation in politics and file a report within 10 weeks on the emerging consensus.

This observation was made by a three-judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice Mr. A.S. Anand, Mr. Justice R.C. Lahoti and Mr. Justice Brijesh Kumar, during the resumed hearing on a special leave petition filed by the Union of India against a Delhi High Court judgment issuing various suggestions to the Election Commission.

The Bench observed that it had to be found out whether all political parties were prepared to put an end to criminalisation of politics in the country; whether there could be a consensus on the issue of furnishing of details by candidates at the time of filing nominations to contest an election about criminal cases, if any, pending against them.

The High Court by an order in November last had suggested to the Election Commission to ensure that the candidates informed the voters regarding their criminal records; their educational qualification and the assets held by them.

Earlier appearing for the Association of Democratic Reforms, (the petitioner before the High Court) senior counsel, Mr. F.S. Nariman said that the suggestions should be converted into a direction to the Election Commission.

Appearing for the Union of India, Mr. Harish Salve, Solicitor General, agreed that criminalisation of politics must end. He, however, said that there should be a discussion among all political parties to find out a solution to the problem. The Government was considering bringing necessary amendments in the relevant laws, he added.

Mr. Kapil Sibal, senior counsel for the Congress said that the proper course would be to discuss the issue in the ensuing session of Parliament and find a solution.

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