Clamour against rape in Parliament: BJP has 116 MPs facing criminal charges
233 members of the Lok Sabha or 43 per cent of the members have criminal charges against them
In the aftermath of the horrific rapes that occurred in the country last week and the extra judicial murders of the accused in the Hyderabad rape case, it is important to once again look at who our lawmakers are and what their credentials are. It becomes contextual after Samajwadi Party Jaya Bachchan had openly called for lynching of the accused in the Hyderabad rape and murder case.
According to a report by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) released in May 2019, nearly half of the newly elected Lok Sabha members have criminal charges against them, a 26% increase as compared to 2014 and a 44% increase when compared to 2009. Out of the 539 winners analysed in Lok Sabha 2019, 233 MPs or43% have declared criminal cases against themselves.
After analysing data of state Assemblies and Lok Sabha, ADR found that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the most number of MPs/MLAs with cases of crimes against women. About 30% of them face very serious charges, like those related to rape and other crimes against women, murder, kidnapping.
The BJP has 116 MPs or 39% of its winning candidates with criminal cases, followed by 29 MPs from the Congress, 13 from the JDU, 10 from the DMK and nine from the TMC, the ADR said.
BJP, sending the highest number of candidates to the parliament, has 87 of its members facing serious criminal charges, while 29 others face charges for non-serious offences.
JD(U) sent the highest percentage of candidates with criminal cases, with 50% of their MPs facing serious criminal charges, while 31% faces other non-serious charges – thus leading to 81% of their overall members at the parliament facing some form of criminal charge.
Among the new Lok Sabha MPs, there are 19 MPs who have declared cases related to crimes against women. Out of these, three have declared cases related to rape (IPC Section-376) and six have declared cases related to kidnappings
In 2014, 185 Lok Sabha members (34%) had criminal charges and 112 MPs had serious criminal cases against them. In 2009, 162 (nearly 30%) out of the 543 Lok Sabha MPs had criminal charges and 14% had serious criminal charges, ADR’s report had stated.
“Democracy is undermined, and its institutions are rendered ineffective when criminals control them. The ready excuse of politicians that they cannot be considered criminals unless they are convicted by courts is acceptable only in a strictly technical sense. It is well-known that cases go on for years and decades and most often politicians are able to extricate themselves from them in various ways and means,” reported ADR.