Decriminalisation of politics: Psycho-sociological dimensions and beyond

Baijayant 'Jay' Panda

Author: Tejaswini Rajkumar

When law ventures, in the hope of dominating, into the dark regions of consciousness, it has little chance of being able to simplify the complexity it wants to codify.”

Albert Camus, Reflections on the Guillotine.

Although observed in a different context (efficacy of death penalty), this quote by Camus outlines the nature of the debate on decriminalisation of politics in India. The array of political, sociological and psychological considerations in this debate is far more complex than often perceived.

The issue of the increasing criminality in politics has engaged the national intelligentsia for decades, adnauseam. Just when the social complacency of deeming the crime-politics nexus as an inexorable attribute of governance seemed to set in, the issue received renewed interest after the judicial diktat in Lily Thomas v. Union of India stripping off the immunity accorded to criminal politicians under the Representation…

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