Criminalisation of Politics in India: Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) Report Analysis

GS-2 Mains 

Short Notes or Revision Notes 

Question : Evaluate the role of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in addressing corruption and political criminalization in India since its establishment in 1999. Discuss the significance of ADR’s work in empowering voters and promoting transparency in the political system.

Criminalisation of Politics in India: ADR Report Analysis

ADR Scrutiny of MPs’ Affidavits

  • The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) analysed affidavits of sitting Lok Sabha MPs.
  • Key findings:
    • 44% (225 out of 514) have declared criminal cases against themselves.
    • 29% face serious charges like murder, kidnapping, crimes against women.
    • 9 MPs have murder charges.

Other ADR Reports and Concerns

  • Electoral Bonds Scheme: Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional (lack of transparency).
  • Rise of Unrecognized Political Parties: Doubling of numbers since 2010 (2019).
  • Appointment of Election Commissioners: ADR argues current practice violates the Constitution.

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)

  • Founded in 1999 to address corruption and political criminalization.
  • Focuses on empowering voters with candidate and party information.

Issues of Criminalization of Politics

  • Threatens public safety and security: Criminals in power may not prioritize efficient justice systems.
  • Low conviction rates and police station influence by politicians weaken law enforcement.
  • Erodes public trust and undermines democratic institutions.
  • Raises concerns about representation quality and governance effectiveness.

Measures to Curb Criminalisation

  • The Vohra Committee (1993) warned about criminal leaders entering politics.
  • Law Commission’s 179th report:
    • Recommended disqualifying those with criminal backgrounds for 5 years or until acquittal.
    • Suggested mandatory details on pending cases and assets for contesting elections.

Legal Framework

  • Representation of the People Act, 1951: Lacks provisions for regulating appointments within political parties.
  • Right to Information Act, 2005: Efforts to bring political parties under RTI for transparency.

Supreme Court Judgements

  • 2002: Mandatory declaration of criminal & financial records, educational qualifications for candidates.
  • 2005: Disqualification for MPs/MLAs upon conviction and sentencing > 2 years.
  • 2014: Acceptance of Law Commission recommendations for speedy trials (1 year) against MPs/MLAs.
  • 2017: Establishment of 12 special courts to fast-track such trials.
  • 2021: Political parties mandated to publish details of pending criminal cases against candidates.
  • Recent judgement: Measures to prevent withdrawal of lawsuits against MPs/MLAs.

Conclusion and Way Forward

  • Criminalization of politics is a serious threat to Indian democracy.
  • Political parties need to be more transparent and accountable in candidate selection.
  • Election Commission and authorities need to enhance transparency on political parties and funding.
  • Stringent measures are crucial to restore faith in the democratic system.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *