In an alarming statistic, India's election watchdogs, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) have pointed out that there has been a 231 percent rise in the number of election-contesting candidates with criminal cases against them between 2009 and 2019.
Both also revealed in their jointly prepared report that there has been an 850 percent increase in the number of lawmakers who are members of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian parliament, with declared cases of crimes against women.
For the report, ADR-NEW used as references various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including related to crimes against women.
According to the ADR-NEW report, the number of candidates contesting elections for the lower house of the Indian parliament with cases of crimes against women went up from 38 in 2009 to 126 in 2019, an increase of 231 percent.
On the other hand, the number lower house lawmakers with declared cases of committing crimes against women increased from two in 2009 to 19 in 2019, an increase of 850 percent, according to the ADR-NEW report.
The report further states that of the 759 MPs and 4,063 state legislators analysed with declared criminal cases, 76 (18 MPs and 58 state legislators) have declared cases related to crimes against women and added this in the last five years. A total of 572 candidates have contested the general elections to become members of the Indian parliament in spite of having cases registered against them for committing crimes against women. None of these poll candidates have been convicted.
Among the various recognised parties, India’s governing BJP has the highest number of 21 lawmakers with declared cases related to crimes against women and is followed by the opposition Congress party (16) and the YSR Congress party (7) respectively.
According to the ADR-NEW report, this clearly shows that political parties are not concerned about the issue of crimes against women.