As the nation debates the law proposed to safeguard convicted MPs and MLAs, statistics show that since 2008 only 24 (out of 4,807 analysed MPs and MLAs) i.e. only 0.5 per cent have declared they have been convicted at some point in a court of law.
An analysis done by National Election Watch shows that since 2008, of the 4,807 elected members (MPs and MLAs) 1,460 (30 per cent) have declared criminal cases against them, of which 688 (14 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases.
Contesting candidates with declared cases:
Overall, during elections since 2008, out of the 47,389 analysed candidates who contested the elections a total of 8,041 (17 per cent) have declared criminal cases against them, of which 3,759 (8 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases.
Convictions of contesting candidates:
Of the total 47,389 analysed candidates, who have contested various elections since 2008, only 155 (0.3 per cent) candidates have declared in their affidavits that they have been convicted at some point in a court of law.
The National Election Watch says one obvious reason for this low rate of conviction is the excruciatingly slow pace of hearings in courts. It is possible that a candidate contesting an election may be refraining from declaring conviction in his/her affidavit once an appeal in a higher court is admitted challenging the conviction. In such a case this candidate may merely mention that an appeal is pending in court and may not declare conviction in the appropriate section of the affidavit.
It is also possible that candidates may be suppressing/hiding the conviction because, as of now, there is no reliable mechanism to scrutinise these affidavits.
The convictions mentioned above declared by candidates or elected members don’t come under the purview of the Supreme Court judgement because the judgement is not applicably retrospectively; only convictions after July 10, 2013, will result in disqualification.