A new study on criminally-tainted politicians has revealed that 51 MPs and MLA’s have cases of crimes against women levelled against them, including heinous crimes such as rapes and abduction. The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-profit watchdog for electoral reforms, analysed 4,852 election affidavits of sitting Members of Parliament and Legislative Assembly. It included 774 out of 776 affidavits of MPs and 4,078 out of 4,120 MLAs across all the states of India; 1,581 MPs/MLAs had criminal cases declared against them.
Besides, 334 candidates analysed, who had cases related to crimes against women declared against them, were given tickets by recognised political parties. Among these, 51 MPs/MLAs with declared cases related to crimes against women, 48 are MLAs and three are MPs. Of these, maximum (14) belonged to Bharatiya Janata Party, followed by their biggest ally at the Centre Shiv Sena, whose 7 elected representatives had these charges levelled against them. State-wise, Maharashtra had the highest number of MPs/MLAs (12) charged with crimes against women, followed by West Bengal (11), and Odisha (six).
In the last five years, Maharashtra has had the highest number of candidates (65), followed by Bihar (62), and West Bengal (52) candidates who were given tickets despite them having declared cases related to crimes against women in their affidavits. It added that the analysed 122 independent candidates with declared cases related to crime against women had contested the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha and State Assembly Elections in the last five years.
ADR recommended in its report that candidates with a criminal background should be debarred from contesting elections. It urged political parties to disclose the selection criteria of election candidates and also recommended that cases against MPs and MLAs be fast tracked and decided upon in a time-bound manner.