The consistent efforts of the Supreme Court to cleanse the political turf from criminally tainted politicians has yet borne no fruits. The Court has advised that political parties should not give tickets to the tainted and those facing criminal charges should not be inducted as Ministers. As lawmakers are not willing to embrace and take heed of the Supreme Court to not be lawbreakers or legislate on behalf of the masses with unclean hands, the ruling from the Supreme Court should now come as a direction which the government will have to comply with.

India’s smallest state is a classic example. Our Panchayat Minister Mauvin Godinho is the prime accused in the 2001 infamous Power scam case in which late Manohar Parrikar was the Complainant. Revenue Minister Jennifer Monseratte and Panaji MLA Babush Monseratte are the prime accused in the 2008 storming and stoning of the Panaji Police Station. Besides, Babush Monseratte is also facing charges of having raped a minor girl. Deputy Chief Minister Babu Kavlekar is having cases of disproportionate assets and other charges being probed by the Anti Corruption Branch and the Crime Branch of the Goa Police. He is also reportedly one of the kingpins of the Matka trade. The Cuncolim MLA Clafasio Dias is implicated in that illegal stone crusher and government land grab case while the St Andre MLA Francis Silveira is doing merry in illegal bull fights and was recently charged for his trawler having illegally done fishing with the banned LED lights. The St Cruz MLA Tony Fernandes has high stakes in the Matka business. This is a sordid list of some of the MLAs who have been elected and entrusted to legislate good laws despite them allegedly being in violation of the law. Nothing more needs to be said about the criminally tainted Sarpanches and Panchayat members.

Politics cannot be a safe haven for those in breach of the law. On the contrary, those who make the law owe a higher degree of responsibility and accountability for their acts and must live by example and not be rewarded for their abuse of the law. The rights of a citizen or voter in the world’s largest democracy should not be trampled on by having one law for the lawmaker and one law for the common man.  This will only result in an erosion of the trust that people have in the political and judicial system besides in the laws made by people who do not adhere to the law and seen to be above the law.

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