The Delhi High Court on Wednesday while refusing to stay the conviction of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda expressed its concern over the increasing criminalization of politics.
"In recent times, there has been an increasing demand that steps be taken for decriminalization of politics. A large number of persons with criminal antecedents or those charged with heinous crimes contest polls and are elected to legislative Assemblies and Parliament. This has been a matter of concern," said a single-judge bench of the High Court presided over by Justice Vibhu Bakhru.
The observation came while the court was hearing a plea filed by the former Jharkhand Chief Minister seeking stay on his conviction order in a coal block allocation case, so that he can contest elections.
While dismissing the petition filed by Koda through advocate Abhimanyu Bhandari, the bench observed that the appellant has a prima facie case; however, it is not persuaded to accept that his conviction is liable to be stayed on this ground alone.
The appellant has been convicted of an offence after trial.
"One of the consequences of the conviction is that the appellant is not qualified to run for public office. While it is contended that this would lead to injustice and irreversible consequences, the court must also consider wider ramifications of the same," it said.
Koda, who remained the Chief Minister of Jharkhand from September 2006 to A ugust 23, 2008, along with others, was convicted by the the trial court in December 2017 for criminal misconduct and abusing his position as a public servant and favouring the allocation of Rajhara Coal Block to a private company.
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