Pushing for clean politics, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to work out a mechanism to settle criminal and other court cases against politicians within a year.
The directive is in line with Modi's commitment during his election campaign that he will endeavour to see that court cases against politicians are decided within one year. If they are guilty, they should bepunished, if not they should be discharged, he had said. During the campaign, he had vowed to pursue a zero-tolerance policy on graft if he came to power. In one of his media interviews, he had also said that the Supreme Court will be requested to take up such cases on a fast-track basis.
The Law Ministry has already started working on the roadmap and one of the options is to follow the recommendation of the Law Commission made to the Supreme Court in March. The law panel said that for charges framed against sitting MPs or MLAs, the trial must be expedited and concluded within a one-year period. "If trial is not concluded within one year then (either) the MP/MLA may be disqualified at the expiry of the one-year period or the MP/MLAs' right to vote in the House as a member, remuneration shall be suspended at the expiry of the one-year period," the report had said.
This Parliament has a record number of lawmakers facing criminal charges - 186 members or 34 per cent of the Lok Sabha - according to research by the Association for Democratic Reforms. Modi had stressed his administration would steer clear of political vendetta, but he also underscored that the law would be followed and the guilty would be punished, irrespective of their clout.