Report No. 244
(i) Low Rates of Conviction
The proportion of sitting MPs and MLAs facing some form of criminal proceedings is at around 30.- 1,460 out of 4,807 legislators face some kind of criminal charge. By contrast, only 24 out of the 4,807 or 0.5% have been convicted at some point of criminal charges in a court of law.42
42. This number represents convictions that does not result in disqualification under Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Association for Democratic Reforms, 'Comparison of pending cases and convictions declared by elected representatives', (2013) http://adrindia.org/content/comparison-pending-cases-and-convictions-declared-elected-representatives accessed on February 4, 2014.
Among all candidates, the percentage is even lower, at 0.3% having declared that they have faced convictions in a court of law. 155 out of 47,389 candidates have faced convictions, although 8,041 candidates have criminal cases pending.
Even taking into account the suppression of data by candidates, it is clear that there is an extremely wide gap between legislators with trials pending and those whose trials have actually resulted in convictions. Further, while 24 legislators have declared convictions, the number disqualified as a result of convictions is even lower, as not all convictions result in disqualification.
Following the Lily Thomas judgment Lily Thomas v. Union of India, (2013) 7 SCC 653. only 3 legislators were disqualified as a result of convictions. In contrast with the number of pending cases against legislators, the number of convicted MPs and MLAs continues to be an extremely low figure, indicating a need for a change in the law.