A police case filed against a Delhi politician from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for violent acts—including assault, trespass and impeding public officials—is a reminder of how common such cases are among elected representatives of India's people, an IndiaSpend analysis has revealed.
As many as 450 of 4,915 Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) across India have first information reports (FIRs) filed against them under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 353, which the Delhi Police used in registering an FIR this week against AAP MLA Alka Lamba, who ransacked a shop and toppled a billing machine.
While 450 MLAs/MPs were booked under section 353, 424—of these 450 or others—have been booked under section 427, 169 under section 186 and 14 under section 451.
An analysis of self-sworn affidavits—which candidates submit to Election Commission when contesting elections—show that 9.2% of elected MLAs/MPs are booked under these sections.
The largest numbers are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
2.IPC Section 353: Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty—Whoever assaults or uses criminal force against any person being a public servant in the execution of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such person in the lawful discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
57 MPs and 393 MLAs have declared cases under IPC 353.
3.IPC Section 427: Mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees—Whoever commits mischief and thereby causes loss or damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
56 MPs and 368 MLAs have declared cases under IPC 427.
4.IPC Section 451: House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment. Whoever commits house-trespass in order to the committing of any offence punishable with imprisonment, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and shall also be liable to fine; and if the offence intended to be committed is theft, the term of the imprisonment may be extended to seven years.
Three MPs and 11 MLAs have declared cases under IPC 451.
5.IPC Section 186: Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions—Whoever voluntarily obstructs any public servant in the discharge of his public functions, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
24 MPs and 145 MLAs have declared cases under IPC 186.
(Manoj K is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and the founder of the Centre for Governance and Development. He has a special interest in transparency and accountability in governance and has spearheaded several projects on these subjects.)
(Indiaspend.org is a data-driven, public-interest journalism non-profit)