New Delhi (Agency): A new report from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has raised concerns about the criminal backgrounds of many sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) in India. According to the ADR and National Election Watch (NEW), approximately 40% of current MPs have criminal cases registered against them. Even more alarming, 25% face serious criminal charges, including murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women.
The study analyzed the self-sworn affidavits of 763 out of 776 sitting MPs from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. These affidavits were filed by MPs before their last elections and any by-elections. It was revealed that 306 MPs (40%) declared criminal cases against themselves, and 194 (25%) have serious criminal cases on record.
The report also broke down the numbers by state and party. For instance, 79% of MPs from Kerala, 73% from Bihar, and 57% from Maharashtra have criminal records according to their affidavits. When it comes to serious criminal charges, Bihar leads with 50%, followed by Telangana with 38%, and Kerala with 34%.
Among the major parties, 36% of BJP MPs and 53% of Congress MPs have declared criminal cases against themselves. In terms of serious charges, 25% of BJP MPs and 32% of Congress MPs are implicated.
ADR’s report did not just focus on criminal cases; it also highlighted the financial assets of MPs. The average worth of assets for an MP is Rs 38.33 crores, and 53 MPs (7%) are billionaires. Telangana has the highest average assets per MP, with Rs 262.26 crores, while Lakshadweep has the lowest, with Rs 9.38 lakh.
The report raises serious questions about the ethical and criminal standards of the individuals representing the Indian public. It also poses challenges for Indian democracy, as a significant number of lawmakers have a history of lawbreaking. As India grapples with various challenges, including corruption and social issues, the criminal backgrounds of a large number of its MPs add another layer of complexity to the country’s governance.