Vol. XLI No. 09 February 26, 2017

Thinking Together

In India all sorts of politicians face corruption charges, some face trial in courts, some are convicted, some are acquitted, some go on appeal etc..etc..  Does CPI(M) treat one is innocent till final conviction in any court of law?  What is the yardstick CPI(M) adopts to deal with them?


S Manohar, Melagaram,Tamil Nadu.


Corruption is a serious problem affecting the country. Much of the high level corruption stems from the big business-politician-bureaucrat nexus. Given this fact, very few politicians who have misused their office face corruption charges. Corruption indulged in by a public servant comes under the purview of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CPI(M) is for the stringent application of this Act against those ruling politicians who have indulged in corrupt practices.

As for your question whether the CPI(M) treats a person charged with corruption as innocent till found guilty by a court, that is the basis of the legal system in the country. But the real issue is whether a person holding public office such as a minister can continue in office if they are chargesheeted in a corruption case. According to the CPI(M) anyone holding public office who is chargesheeted must step down from office. This is not only a matter of propriety but it is necessary to ensure that the  person holding office does not interfere or influence the investigation and trial.

As per the existing law, an elected representative such as an MLA or MP, if they are found guilty and convicted for any offence which entails two or more years of imprisonment will be automatically disqualified from holding the elected post. This would mean that such a person if they are chief ministers or ministers will also have to immediately step down.

The CPI(M) makes a distinction between those holding public office who face corruption charges and those who may have cases against them arising out of their political activities. In the former case any politician holding public office must step down when they are charged in a corruption case. As far as other criminal cases are concerned, they need not step down till the outcome of the trial depending on whether they are found guilty or acquitted.