Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora


The criminalization of politics in India has been raised substantially. This is a contempt suit filed
before the Supreme Court of India that exposes the critical issues linked with India’s
“Criminalization of Politics.” This case is also known as the Case of Criminalization in Politics.
Before delving into the case’s merits, we must first grasp the notion of ‘Criminalization of Politics.’
The criminalization of politics refers to the act of a person with a criminal record seeking to enter
politics to run for office and get elected. This occurs as a result of the relationship between
criminals and politicians, as both are intertwined. Politicians require the assistance of criminals for
physical strength to win elections, while criminals require the assistance and financing of
politicians to continue their illicit operations. Criminals join politics by acquiring tickets with the
backing of politicians and winning the election, and they even use money and physical strength to
entice citizens to vote in their favor by instilling terror in their minds. The election of such a
member as a constituency representative undermines India’s constitutional underpinnings.
The current appeal was filed by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay and an NGO called ‘Public interest
foundation’ to seek Supreme Court of India orders about the criminalization of politics and barring
criminals from winning elections and becoming Members of Parliament. This contempt petition
emphasizes the critical concerns surrounding political criminalization and brings to our attention
a disregard for the directives granted by the Constitutional Bench in the Electoral Disqualification
Directions given by a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court have been disobeyed regarding
the decriminalization of politics in the case Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India2
. In that
case, the petitioner seeks clarification from the Supreme Court on the criminalization of politics.
Hon’ble Supreme Court issued five directions in their judgment. They were as follows1Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India, 2019
(2019) 3 SCC 224
a) Each contesting candidate shall fill up the form and shall be provided by Election
Commission which contains all the particulars.
b) It shall be stated in bold letters about the criminal cases pending against the candidate.
c) A candidate who is contesting from a particular party then he/she have to inform the party
about criminal cases pending against them.
d) The political parties are also bound to publish candidates’ criminal antecedents on their
official websites.
e) The candidate and the political party concerned shall issue a declaration about the
criminal antecedents of the candidate and that shall be circulated in the locality and also
give publicity in the electronic media.
1) Whether criminalization of politics in India has increased or not?
2) Whether this contempt petition is maintainable or not?
Reasoning – Direction given by the Constitutional bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the
case of Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India has been disobeyed by political parties. There
has been a significant increase in the number of felons in politics during the previous four general
elections. In 2004, 24 percent of MPs had a criminal record; in 2019, 43 percent of MPs have a
criminal record. Political parties likewise have no explanation for why candidates with a criminal
history are chosen as a first option.
Judgment – The Supreme Court in the exercise of their constitutional power under Article 129
and Article 142 of the Indian Constitution issued six directions.

  1. It shall be mandatory for all political parties to upload the criminal antecedents of their
    candidate including the nature of the offenses& relevant particulars on the official website
    of the party and the reason why other individuals could not be selected as a candidate.
  2. Selection of the candidate shall be nexus with the qualifications, achievements, and merit
    of the candidate, and winnability at the polls shall not be the only criteria for candidate
  3. This information shall be published in one local vernacular newspaper, one national
    newspaper, and official social media platforms of the concerning political parties.
  4. Publication shall be completed within 48 hours after candidate selection or before two
    weeks of the first date for filing nominations.
  5. The concerning political party shall submit a report of compliance within 72 hours of the
    candidate selection in the election commission.
  6. If any political party fails to submit such a compliance report then the election commission
    can file a contempt petition before the Hon’ble Court against the concerned party.
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