This refers to the report “Jailed persons can contest polls” (Nov. 20). The Supreme Court judgment did make me sit up and wonder where our nation is really heading. Leaders should be role models capable of steering the country and the people on the right path. This sows the seeds for more corruption and deceit. Where are the role models for the younger generation?
Only political parties will cheer the Supreme Court’s acceptance of the amendment to the Representation of the People Act that allows jailed persons to contest elections. This effectively means that those facing criminal charges will be given the ticket if they have the money and the muscle power besides possessing the right caste factor. True, it is possible to foist a false criminal case and prevent a person from contesting. But there are many innocent persons who are languishing in jail because they have no money to engage a lawyer. It is reported that about 25 per cent of prisoners in Kerala’s jails are innocent. Many of them have been granted bail but cannot get out as they do not have the money for the the bail amount stipulated. Why should politicians alone be shielded from the vagaries of the legal system? If there is political will, it will not be impossible to devise a suitable mechanism that will act as a firewall against mischievous litigation.
A person in the lawful custody of the police is not necessarily a criminal. In today’s era, political parties leave no stone unturned to malign the opposition. Persons who are jailed but not convicted, should be allowed to contest elections. It becomes the responsibility of the voter to check the credentials of candidates and vote accordingly.