The new Goa Legislative Assembly has been constituted but the delayed government is yet to arrive. The new Chief Minister could start on a right and high note by not inducting as Ministers those MLAs having criminal cases pending against them.
In a landmark Judgment the Supreme Court in 2014 had advised not to induct in the cabinet charge sheeted persons facing trial and had rightly observed that criminalization of Politics destroyed people’s faith in democracy and that constitutional morality, good governance and constitutional trust expected good sense not to recommend any person with criminal charges from being appointed as a Minister.
The Court also observed that our democratic Republic polity hopes and aspires to be governed by a Government which is run by elected representatives who do not have any involvement in criminal offences.
Some of Goa’s elected MLAs are having very serious criminal cases pending against them. Dabolim MLA Mauvin Godinho is the main accused in the 2001 infamous multi-crore Power scam case while Panaji MLA Babush Monseratte and Taleigao MLA Jennifer Monseratte are the prime accused in the 2008 Panaji Police Station attack case. Babush Monseratte is also currently facing criminal charges of having raped a minor girl.
Let us hope that the new cabinet will not have as Minister anyone facing criminal charges. May Goa lead by example in ensuring probity in public life.