Around 62 per cent newly-elected legislators have criminal cases against them in Kerala, while 32 per cent in West Bengal face serious charges including murder and crime against women, a report said on Friday.
The findings were shared by the Association for Democratic Reforms based on their analysis of the affidavits of 812 newly-elected MLAs across Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and Puducherry.
In its combined analysis of the five states, the ADR found that 36 per cent (294) of the legislators have criminal cases pending against them while around 22 per cent (176) have serious charges against them, which it said was indicative of "increasing criminalisation" of politics.
"Kerala has the maximum percentage, 62 per cent, of MLAs with declared criminal cases against them while West Bengal has the maximum percentage, 32 per cent, of MLAs with declared serious criminal cases against them," the ADR report states.
Jagdeep Chhokar, founder-member of the ADR, said what was alarming was that in Kerala, the number of MLAs having criminal charges against them rose by 14 per cent as against 2011 state polls while 10 per cent more candidates with serious charges against them have been elected.
In Tamil Nadu, 34 per cent MLAs have declared criminal cases against them as against 30 per cent in 2011. Out of them, 22 per cent are from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, 48 per cent from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and 71 per cent from the Congress.
In West Bengal, 10 MLAs have declared cases related to crimes against women, of which five are from the Trinamool Congress, one from the Bharatiya Janata Party, three from the Congress and one belongs to the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
Moreover, six MLAs have declared cases related to murder out of whom five belong to the Trinamool Congress and one to CPI-M. 26 MLAs have declared cases of attempt to murder, of whom 16 are from the Trinamool, four from the CPI-M and six from Congress.
Out of the 126 MLAs analysed in Assam, 14 MLAs (11 per cent) have declared criminal cases against them while 10 (8 per cent) have declared serious criminal cases against them.
As per the Kerala break-up, those MLAs having criminal cases against them include 91 per cent from the CPI-M, 63 per cent from the CPI and 41 per cent from the Congress. When it comes to serious criminal cases, 29 per cent are from the CPI-M and 23 per cent from the INC.
In a separate analysis on gender ratio and educational qualifications of the legislators, it was found that only nine per cent were women. Among the states, West Bengal has the highest number of women MLAs, at 40.
"There are 19 MLAs with PhD. The maximum number of MLAs (10) with PhD are from West Bengal followed by Tamil Nadu with five MLAs. Apart from PhD, there are 480 or 59 per cent MLAs with graduate or above degrees," the report says.
Around 11 per cent of the elected MLAs are 40 years of age and below while five are above 80 years of age, it says.