Supreme Court questions convicted politicians heading parties

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court with a view to preventing criminalization of politics, questioned whether convicted politicians can form and head a political party, can choose candidates for the polls after they are disqualified from contesting elections.
A Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud made this observation during the course of hearing of a PIL by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyaya seeking a ban on convicted persons from forming or being officer bearers of a political party.
The Chief Justice orally observed, “How can a convicted person be an office-bearer of a political party and select candidates to contest elections. This goes against our judgments that corruption in politics to be ostracized from the purity of elections. It is a strange situation that what convicted persons cannot do individually, can do collectively through some of their agents?
“A man cannot directly contest an election, so he constitutes a group of persons to form a political party and contest an election. An association of people can do philanthropic activities like have a hospital or a school. But when it comes to the field of governance, it is a different matter.”
The Bench asked the Centre to file its response after the Election Commission filed an affidavit that it was supporting the ban.

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