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“It is not right in God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”

Criminalisation of politics is anathema to sacredness of democracy: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: Criminalisation of politics creates a dent in the marrows of the nation which must be curbed, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said while asking the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers not to induct tainted people in their ministry.

A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha, said criminalisation of politics is an “anathema” to the sacredness of democracy and it required to be handled with extreme care and circumspection.

“A democratic polity, as understood in its quintessential purity, is conceptually abhorrent to corruption and, especially corruption at high places, and repulsive to the idea of criminalisation of politics as it corrodes the legitimacy of the collective ethos, frustrates the hopes and aspirations of the citizens and has the potentiality to obstruct, if not derail, the rule of law,” Justice Dipak Misra, who wrote the judgement, said.

It said systemic corruption and sponsored criminalization can corrode the fundamental core of elective democracy and, consequently, the constitutional governance.

“Criminality and corruption go hand in hand. From the date the Constitution was adopted, i.e., 26th January, 1950, a Red Letter Day in the history of India, the nation stood as a silent witness to corruption at high places. Corruption erodes the fundamental tenets of the rule of law,” it said.

Describing corruption as a “formidable enemy” of the nation, Justice Misra said corruption has the potential to destroy many a progressive aspect of the country.

“A democratic republic polity hopes and aspires to be governed by a Government which is run by the elected representatives who do not have any involvement in serious criminal offences or offences relating to corruption, casteism, societal problems, affecting the sovereignty of the nation and many other offences,” he said.