New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking electoral reforms including framing of rules to de-criminalise and de-communalise the Indian polity and ordered tagging of the petition with a similar one.
A bench comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy said that as similar petition is pending, the PIL be put for hearing along with the earlier petition.
The plea has sought "lifetime time ban" against convicted person from contesting elections, forming political party and becoming party office-bearers.
The PIL, filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, said that reforms in the existing electoral system and polity, which is "full of corruption, criminalisation, casteism, communalism and nepotism", are needed so that citizens' faith in "socialism, secularism and democracy" can be maintained.
"Why only six years' ban against convicted person, involved in serious crime and corruption? Why not lifetime ban on contesting the election, forming own political party and becoming office-bearers of registered political party against convicted person involved in serious crime and loot?
"Why not minimum qualification and maximum age limit should be mandatory criteria for contesting Parliament/ assembly election," it asked.
The petition also alleged that the "political parties and leaders are using the caste and religion for political gain and consequently dividing the society, which is dangerous for fraternity, unity and integrity of the nation."
"Political leaders are misusing the freedom of speech, knowingly and intentionally for political gain, not only during election campaigning but also during interview/media debates too," it alleged, adding that there is no written code of conduct for political parties and leaders.