If conviction ain’t enough, what is?
The union Cabinet’s clearing the ordinance seeking to protect convicted MLAs and MPs is nothing short of sabotaging the Supreme Court’s efforts at cleansing Indian politics of rampant criminalisation. The government’s adamant stance, reversing the apex court’s order seeking disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs from contesting in polls or carrying on in political office, is a draconian move that is guaranteed to allow the criminals to continue with their unscrupulous means and stay on in politics. With the Congress MP Rasheed Masood facing the axe, the UPA government seemed to be in a tearing hurry to scrap the judgement that would have restored some credibility to the institution by removing the political figures and contestants who have a tainted past and had been legally convicted for doing so. Given that corruption is the most important reason why the public has lost faith in the political and governmental machinery, the Supreme Court order had in it the potential to reinstate that shaken belief and put back the mantle of integrity upon the state. But, clearly, the government’s alacrity to bring in the ordinance and reverse the order stands in stark contrast with the larger public mood that is fed up of the deep rot that’s eating away our state apparatus.
Naturally, the government’s move to amend the law and bring in the Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Bill, 2013, in Rajya Sabha, during the last session and now clearing the ordinance in a hasty, undemocratic manner, points towards the massive threat that the law could have posed to the regime’s crucial figures, with allegations of corruption against several, and CBI inquiries against them, whether pending indefinitely or closed abruptly.