Singapore PM Lee disapproves declining democratic standards in India; lawmakers facing criminal charges

612 PM Lee disapproves declining democratic standards

ISLAMABAD, (APP): Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that almost half of the Indian legislators are facing criminal charges including rape and murder as the democratic norms in India were constantly on the wane.

“Nehru’s India has become one where, according to media reports, almost half the MPs…. have criminal charges pending against them, including charges of rape and murder,” the 70-year-old prime minister Lee was quoted by media as saying.

Singapore prime minister expressed these views during the debate on the Committee of Privileges’ report on complaints about untruths told by former Workers’ Party lawmaker Raeesah Khan on Friday.

Lee, who referred to the parliamentary standards, mentioned India, suggesting a decline there since its first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was in charge.

India’s main opposition Congress party, led by Nehru’s great-grandson, Rahul Gandhi, took a dig at Modi’s government by feeling pity over the government’s response to such remarks.

According to last year’s report published by the Financial Express, an Indian daily, a total of 363 MPs and MLAs had declared criminal cases against them, an analysis of 2,495 candidate affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) found.

These lawmakers faced charges framed against them by the court for offenses falling under Section 8(1), (2), and (3) of the Indian Representation of People Act, 1951.

“As per the ADR report, these 363 include 296 MLAs and 67 MPs. With 83, BJP tops the list of parties whose members (both MPs and MLAs) have declared criminal charges against them,” the report said.

The offenses listed under these sub-sections included murder, rape, dacoity, robbery, kidnapping, crimes against women, bribery, corruption, money laundering, and many more.

The Congress stood second on the list with 47 and AITC third with 25 of its lawmakers facing criminal cases.

The 2019 Lok Sabha polls saw the participation of 67 MPs who had declared criminal charges against them, followed by Bihar assembly elections 2020 where 54 MLAs were facing criminal charges.

“Surprisingly, four Union Ministers and 35 Ministers of State Assemblies have declared criminal charges against them. All four Union Ministers – Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, Satyapal Singh Baghel, Kailash Choudhary, and Ashwini Kumar Choubey – are from the BJP and face charges as serious as abduction, dacoity, and attempts to cause death or grievous injury,” the report further said.

On average, the criminal cases faced by the Indian MPs, against whom charges have been framed, have been pending for 7 years while those faced by MLAs have been pending for 6 years.

The report also revealed that 24 Lok Sabha MPs had a total of 43 criminal cases pending against them for 10 years or more and 111 sitting MLAs have a total of 315 criminal cases pending against them for 10 years or more.

According to another report of Business Insider, an Indian daily, the Supreme Court of India had already ordered all the political parties to upload credentials, achievements, and criminal antecedents of their candidates on their website.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat had ordered that it was mandatory for political parties to give justification for not choosing a candidate with a clean image and giving tickets to a candidate with a criminal past, instead.

“Political parties must put all the information in the public domain about a candidate within 48 hours after clearing the name and the party must also submit a report regarding publication within 24 hours after the nomination of the candidate,” the Indian top court said, adding that the parties would be liable for contempt if they failed to comply with the rules.

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