Onus of denying ministries to tainted politicians is on PM

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In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of India said on Wednesday that the onus of removing tainted politicians from ministries lies on the leader of a government.

The court delivered this judgment while refusing to intervene on the removal of a tainted cabinet minister as requested by a petition. It stated that as a leader of his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the call instead of the judiciary.

“Appointment of cabinet ministers with criminal past must be left to the wisdom of PM,” the SC said, while adding that “PM and CMs should not include people with criminal antecedents in their cabinet.”

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“Indian Constitution reposes immense trust in PM and CMs and they are expected to act with responsibility and with constitutional morality,” read the court ruling. “Those in conflict with law and involved in offences of moral turpitude and corruption should not be allowed to discharge duty as ministers

According to records available in the public domain, 30 per cent of the ministers in the current NDA government have criminal cases pending against them out of which 18 per cent are charged with serious crimes.

To prevent tainted politicians from continuing as lawmakers and ministers, the Supreme Court earlier this year instructed lower courts to complete trial against those sitting lawmakers accused of criminal offences within a maximum duration of one year. However, later this year, another SC judgment contradicted the previous order on the ground that lawmakers are not entitled to any special treatment because they can not be considered as belonging to any distinct category.