The Supreme Court's refusal last week to bar politicians who have been chargesheeted for heinous crimes from contesting elections, urging Parliament to take appropriate steps in this regard, is being seen by many as a big opportunity missed by the apex court to clean up the Indian political system. But in doing so, it underlined the fact that the judiciary cannot and should not step into the domain of the legislature and executive, which is commendable.
The problem is we cannot realistically expect our elected leadership to pass a law against their own interests. All political parties today have tainted members who are faced with serious criminal charges. Even if by a miracle some such move is taken up in Parliament, there will be many hurdles — obtaining consensus being the biggest one.
Curbing the criminalisation of politics is one of the most pressing reforms that India needs. But who will take the battle head-on? Will the Modi Government take its courage in its hands and use the ordinance route in this regard like it did on the triple talaaq issue? Time will tell but let’s not have high hopes.