Reforms to Reduce the
Influence of Money and
Muscle Power In Politics
Manthan Topic : Electoral Reforms
Team Heisenberg Nishank Varshney, Ayush Agrawal, Neeti Pokharna, Ayushi Varshney, Himanshu Tyagi
Candidates with criminal charges enjoy a higher Success Rate (23%), which is almost double the success rate of candidates with
clean record (12%).
Percentage of Criminals among MPs/MLAs varies from 21% to a staggering 75% among the top 20 National and Regional
14% of MPs/MLAs, across all the major parties, have Serious Criminal Charges on them like Murder, Rape, Extortion,
Dacoity, Corruption etc.
In 15 states, more than 1/4th of our legislators have criminal charges on them. In Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and
Kerala nearly half the legislators have criminal charges on them, which means they enjoy majority in the house.
Average assets of winners, in all the states, are higher by more than 300% when compared to average assets of all the
Average assets of winners with criminal records are higher than average assets of winners with clean record by a whopping
62 Lakh Rupees.
Success Rate of Clean Independent Candidates is merely 1%, which proves that it is almost impossible for a clean independent
candidate to win.
Some Striking Observations from an Analysis* of 62,847 candidates who
contested Parliamentary or Assembly elections between 2004-2013
* Detailed Analysis is provided in Annexure 1
It’s the MPs/MLAs who make the Laws
and policies. Our country is in danger, if
one-third of them are involved in criminal
Increasing entry of criminals and money-
minded people into politics, poses a great
threat to the hopes of conducting “free
and fair” elections which offends the basic
foundation of a healthy democracy.
Politics a Threat ?
Electoral Malpractices are the root cause
of Corruption which adversely affects
implementation of Social Welfare Policies
like Distribution of PDS Grains, NREGA,
Due to the flawed electoral process, it is
becoming increasingly difficult for public
spirited citizens to enter the field of
Politics, without breaking the laws.
Why is it a
Candidates spend more than 10-15 times of
prescribed limit, to buy votes by distributing
money, liquor or clothes.
While this illegitimate spending might not
result in candidate’s victory, but if not spent,
it almost certainly results in their defeat.
In order to sustain this kind of expenditure in
future elections, the candidates indulge in
massive corruption & extortion to recover
multiple times their expenditure .
of Money &
We cannot trust those who break the law, to
frame the laws in Parliament or Assembly.
Since all the leading 20 National/Regional
Parties have been consistently fielding
candidates with criminal record over last 10
years, across the length and breadth of this
country, there is an immediate need to bring
Electoral Reforms to protect the sanctity of
Need to Bring
Candidates who have been framed* in more than 1 charges by a court of law, in Serious criminal cases, like Murder, Attempt to
Murder, Rape, Corruption, extortion, dacoity etc. (Those charges, for which, if convicted, a candidate could be sentenced for more
than 2 years, or the case requires the issue of a non bailable warrant, or any election related criminal charge) before the date of filing
of nomination, should not be allowed to contest election, till the time they are acquitted by the court.
In the analysis referred to in the First slide, we have only considered those candidates against whom charges have been framed by the
court, and not the cases lodged against them.
As per the current rules, only those candidates who have been convicted in a criminal case are debarred from contesting elections.
However, the conviction rate in India is only 40% and a lot of candidates take unfair advantage of the long judicial process.
Therefore, Lot of MPs/MLAs have murder/ other serious cases pending against them for as long as 29 years. (Detailed List inAnnexure 2)
Hence, it has now become important to prevent not only those candidates who have been convicted, but also those against whom
criminal cases are pending from long time, from entering our Legislative houses.
*Framing of charges by the court is different from registering a case by Police. Charges are framed against the accused only after the police
has verified the case and when the court is convinced after hearing both the sides that substantial proofs exist against the accused.
Taking Framed charges into consideration instead of any case registered against the accused, and debarring those candidates who have
multiple cases against them will prevent the misuse of false registration of cases (which is the concern of many Political Parties). Because it is
highly unlikely that same candidate will be falsely implicated in two different serious criminal cases.
Any Political Party that gives tickets to such candidates should be heavily penalized, and in case of repeated flouting of norms,
they should be derecognized.
Any candidate who has a criminal charge* framed against him for more than 3 years, should not be allowed to contest elections.
3 years is a sufficient time for any candidate to get his cases disposed off.
*Criminal Charge should include only those charges listed in Section 8 (1), (2) and (3) of the Representation of the People Act.
This will avoid disqualification of candidates over petty issues which may arise out of political vendetta.
No MP/MLA should be allowed to take the post of a Minister if he has any Criminal Charge* pending against him. (He may hold
office if the pending case is a review in higher court, for which he has been acquitted by lower court.)
Rajya Sabha/Vidhan Parishad serve as dignified chambers. However, 18% of Rajya Sabha MPs have criminal charges against them,
including 6% with Serious Criminal Charges. (Ref. 1) Therefore, Any candidate who has a Criminal Charge* pending against him,
should not be allowed to file nomination for Rajya Sabha or Vidhan Parishad.
Provision of Fast Track Courts - To dispose the cases on candidates which have been pending for more than 2 years, and any cases
against Incumbent MPs/MLAs. They should give their judgment within a specific time period (preferably within 12-18 months) and
also provide appropriate witness protection. The trial and investigation should be insulated from any kind of Political Interference.
Suggestions to Reduce Impact of
Money during Elections
In case of abnormal growth of assets, the Income Tax Office should verify the correctness of sources mentioned.3.
Re-contesting candidates must declare the increase (or decrease) in their assets from last time of contest. They must also mention
the sources for this increase (or decrease).
While filing nominations, the candidates must file their Income Tax returns along with declaring their assets in the affidavits.
Along with their own assets, the candidates should also be required to declare the assets of their immediate family members (Like
Parents, Sibling, Spouse and Children.)
5. This information should be made publically available by the Election Commission to all the voters. Candidate’s affidavits should be
prominently displayed at each polling booth so that voters can make an informed choice before casting their vote.
In less than 5 years, the average assets of 4181 candidates who re-contested in elections had grown from Rs.1.74 Crores to Rs.4.08
Crores. About 684 candidates showed an increase of over 500%, 420 of over 800% and 317 of over 1000%. Which clearly is a very
abnormal increase. (Ref. 1)
Any candidate submitting false information in the affidavit must be immediately disqualified.7.
The Election Commission or an appropriate committee appointed by it must verify the declarations made by all the candidates with
respect to assets and criminal records with the help of Police, Judiciary or other relevant bodies, within two weeks of filing their
Any candidate, whose expenses as stated in the election expense report submitted by him, are found to be wrong, should be
The report of the Observer/ Returning Officer, with regards to verification of expenses by the candidate for his election must be
The time limit to submit the election expense report should be reduced from 30 days to 7 days. Because, the candidates already
have to get their accounts cross-verified everyday. Giving a long time window reduces the chances of the Observer/ Returning
Officer to find appropriate proofs against any false information.
12. Apart from putting a limit on expenditure by the candidate, there should also be a maximum limit on expenses by Political Parties
as well, during election period. This limit can be decided on the basis of number of constituencies.
Recently, Mr. Gopinath Munde confessed that he spent nearly 8 Crore Rupees on his election campaign, while the permissible limit is
only 40 Lakh Rupees. Moreover, he had declared his assets to be worth nearly 6 Crore Rupees in his affidavit. Therefore, it is obvious
that he took external loans to spend this amount, and would definitely use unfair means to recover this cost upon election. And even
after this, NO Action has been taken against him. (Ref. 4)
The NDA government spent Rs.150 crore on ‘India Shining’ while the UPA 1 spent nearly 100 Crore in 2009, and is expected to
spend more than double the amount before 2014 elections on “Bharat Nirmaan” campaign. Such lavish expenditures by the
outgoing government, from the State Exchequer, must be curtailed. (Ref. 6)
Declaration of PAN Details must be made compulsory for all the contesting candidates. Currently there are 25 MPs who have
declared assets worth Crores of Rupees, but have not furnished their PAN Details. (Ref. 5)
It must be made mandatory for all the Political Parties to publish a list of all their income and expenditures every month. The
Parties should declare all their Donors, failing which, they be de-recognized and de-registered immediately.
Suggestions to Increase Representation
of Women in Parliament/Assembly
State - Wise
Party - Wise
Women constituteonly 7% of all
the candidates. Consequently, they
form only 8% of our legislators.
Women candidates enjoy ahigher
success rate (16%) as comparedto
male candidates(14%), and
Percentageof Criminals among
Female Legislators (16%) is much
less than the percentage of
Criminals among Male Legislators
(31%). (Ref. 1)
Itis evident that the women are
clearly not being discriminated by
the voters, rather theproblem is
that the Political Parties are not
putting up a sufficient number of
Hence, it is only logical to conclude
that with the increase innumber of
women candidates fielded,
subsequently, the proportion of
will alsoincrease. This will also help
in decreasing the number of
criminals in Parliament.
Every Political Party (thatfields
morethan 5 candidates in a
particular election) must fieldat
least 25% female candidates
between 2014-2019 in every
election, failing which they be de-
The figure of 25% beraised to 40%
for the period of 2019-2024.
Once, the women are empowered
to conteston their own, the
reservation can be withdrawn.
It woulddo away withthe hassles
of rotationof reservedseats, as
proposedinthe Bill passedby
This would give more flexibility to
the political parties infielding
deserving candidates, as compared
This will promote natural
leadershipamong women, as there
will be a healthy competition.
Annexure 1- Nexus between
elections, crime and money:
Ten years of Election Watch
State Wise Analysis
Political Party Wise Analysis
These tables have been prepared by Analysis of Data obtained from Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) (Ref. 1) Go Back
% of MPs/MLAs
% of MPs/MLAs
Average Assets of
(In Crore Rupees)
Avg. Assets of
INC 6322 2451 22% 8% 39% 37% 4.33 5.82 7.99
BJP 5605 1689 31% 13% 28% 38% 1.80 2.88 3.40
BSP 4739 430 35% 18% 7% 17% 1.26 2.74 2.56
SP 2096 418 43% 22% 16% 31% 1.52 4.17 4.12
CPM 1163 520 21% 9% 49% 35% 0.27 0.21 0.21
NCP 1103 225 30% 11% 18% 31% 1.56 3.56 3.31
JD(U) 1005 272 44% 28% 21% 43% 1.33 3.62 0.85
AITC 904 256 32% 23% 25% 40% 1.37 1.31 0.80
JD(S) 656 81 32% 12% 11% 19% 4.73 7.73 3.67
RJD 618 125 46% 26% 18% 25% 0.57 0.70 0.76
CPI 608 91 35% 12% 12% 25% 0.28 0.29 0.22
SS 611 137 75% 31% 10% 38% 1.21 2.34 2.69
AIADMK 426 234 28% 15% 51% 68% 2.04 2.90 5.39
RLD 393 29 28% 21% 6% 12% 1.19 3.79 6.95
DMK 315 167 34% 13% 48% 65% 3.02 2.95 2.91
TDP 312 127 36% 14% 36% 51% 5.61 8.72 6.33
BJD 233 197 25% 15% 85% 82% 1.01 1.10 0.63
SAD 209 117 21% 7% 59% 48% 6.02 6.27 8.73
JMM 283 44 70% 41% 7% 30% 0.26 0.51 0.52
IND 19819 345 32% 17% 1% 5% 0.55 7.24 11.75
Total 62847 8790 29% 14% 12% 23% 1.37 3.83 4.31
Party Performance Crime Money
Jharkhand 1761 189 30% 55% 0.46 1.76
Bihar 4798 621 33% 50% 0.60 2.08
Maharashtra 5442 727 25% 48% 1.29 4.57
Kerala 1045 330 36% 47% 0.62 0.87
Delhi 1025 89 14% 42% 2.76 5.26
Uttar Pradesh 11723 1097 19% 38% 1.13 3.26
Odisha 1681 349 24% 33% 0.58 1.16
Tamil Nadu 2612 562 16% 30% 2.05 2.76
Himachal Pradesh 845 148 16% 28% 1.68 4.39
Gujarat 2633 433 19% 28% 1.84 4.64
Karnataka 4144 526 13% 25% 4.37 15.59
Goa 413 87 17% 25% 3.88 5.44
Uttarakhand 1144 152 15% 25% 0.94 2.66
Madhya Pradesh 3554 279 15% 24% 0.41 1.74
West Bengal 2626 685 19% 24% 0.30 0.55
Haryana 1760 206 11% 23% 1.93 4.91
Andhra Pradesh 4043 498 12% 22% 1.56 6.43
Punjab 1865 263 11% 18% 2.50 7.15
Chattisgarh 1087 113 9% 15% 0.51 3.01
Rajasthan 2552 262 11% 14% 0.94 3.33
Jammu & Kashmir 1226 120 4% 7% 0.88 2.21
North-East* 4449 982 5% 2% 0.93 2.10
Grand Total 62847 8790 18% 29% 1.37 3.83
State Performance Crime Money
Consists of :
Sikkim, Assam, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur
Annexure 2 – List of MPs/MLAs with Long Pending
Serious Criminal Charges
Source : www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2380988/Its-official--crime-pays-politics-Study-shows-candidates-facing-
criminal-charges-likely-win-elections.html (Ref. 2 - Source : ADR)
1. Ten Years of Election Watch - http://adrindia.org/content/nexus-between-elections-crime-and-money-ten-years-election-watch
3. Conviction Rate - http://ncrb.gov.in/CD-CII2011/cii-2011/Table%204.12.pdf
7. Images obtained from Google Search.