Electoral Reforms In India

Criminalization of Politics: Why ADR has approached the ECI?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Criminalization of Politicians

Central Idea

  • The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an electoral watchdog, has written to the Election Commission seeking action against political parties that fail to disclose details of candidates’ criminal cases as mandated by the Supreme Court.
  • The ADR highlights the non-compliance of parties in publishing such information and urges strict action to be taken against defaulting parties.

About ADR

Concerns raised by ADR

  • Alarming Statistics: It revealed 43% of newly-elected MPs in 2019 had pending criminal cases.
  • Non-Compliance: ADR reveals political parties flouting Supreme Court’s orders and ECI’s directions.
  • Shortcomings in Forms: ADR identifies shortcomings in the prescribed forms (C2 and C7) used by parties.
  • Inaccessible Information: Many parties lack functional websites or fail to provide accessible links.
  • Improper Justifications: Parties cite “winnability” and popularity as reasons for selecting candidates with criminal records, contrary to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Supreme Court’s Mandate (2018)

  • Disclosure Directive: Supreme Court has mandated parties to disclose candidates’ criminal cases on their websites.
  • Prescribed Format: Election Commission of India (ECI) specifies the format for publishing this information.
  • Bold Publication: Supreme Court ordered parties to publish criminal case details prominently.
  • Candidate Obligation: Candidates with pending cases must inform the party about their criminal antecedents.
  • Multiple Publications: Parties and candidates must publish the information multiple times after filing nominations.

ADR’s Action and Demands

  • Adherence Supreme Court’s Directive: ADR directed to pursue remedies with the ECI.
  • Demanding Strict Action: ADR urges the ECI to take strict action against defaulting parties, including possible de-registration.
  • Transparency and Accountability: ADR calls for the publication of a list of defaulting parties and the imposition of fines.


  • Urgent Action Needed: ADR’s letter emphasizes the need for action against parties failing to disclose candidates’ criminal cases as mandated by the Supreme Court.
  • Upholding Transparency: Strict enforcement of these orders is essential to maintain transparency and prevent the criminalization of politics.


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