Why not

Ajmal Kasab for MP, that is. When the media can go gaga over Abu Salem and his love life, and he can think of fighting elections; when Munnabhai can stand for MP; when a thousand politicians with a million criminal cases filed against them sit in legislatures across the country framing laws and voting on matters of national interest, then why not imagine a scenario where Ajmal Kasab will stand for MP. Let’s hope he doesn’t sue the media channels for calling him a terrorist without actual proof. And how dare Jethmalani say that Dutt won’t be “a useful addition to India’s Parliament.”

This is a commentary on the phenomenon of criminalization of politics; the politicization of crime is nothing but the other side of the same coin. Swami did write an article about this in mid-2006 – “Terrorists as vote banks”. And this is what he suggested-

First, we need an independent Police Commission, along the lines of the Election Commission, with all-India staff to investigate and prosecute crime. This function must be taken out of the hands of politicians. State governments can have separate forces for maintaining public order, but criminal investigation should be the job of a separate, autonomous police force. That will help move criminals (and possibly terrorists) out of legislatures and into jails.

Second, we need many more judges, and judicial procedures that ensure quick decisions. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Third, we need a law mandating the immediate hearing and disposal of all criminal cases against elected legislators. Today, criminals join politics to delay cases they face. But if these cases have to be disposed of before all others, criminals will avoid rather than join politics. We might even see some Cabinet Ministers resigning in panic and going back to crime.

While police reforms are being stalled by the politicians, the idea of fast tracking of court cases against “influential persons” has been dismissed by the Indian Supreme Court very recently-

The Supreme Court on Friday said no distinction can be made among accused persons for the purpose of putting the trial in criminal cases involving influential persons on the fast track.

“We cannot define who is an influential person. We cannot say that a person belongs to a particular class,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said during the hearing of a petition seeking laying down of guidelines for speedy probe and trial in cases involving important public functionaries.

I remember a line from Satya where the lawyer – Mule – talks to Kallu. Both are heavily drunk, but Mule makes a very interesting observation. The times have changed, he says, things are not like they were before. Politician sabse bada bhai hai – the politician is the biggest criminal of them all.

He surely is.

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