Indian media praise top court's bid to 'clean politics'

More than 150 MPs in the 543-seat lower house of parliament are said to be facing criminal charges Image copyright AFP
Image caption More than 150 MPs in the 543-seat lower house of parliament are said to be facing criminal charges

India's Supreme Court has taken a "big step to clean politics" by ordering that trials against politicians must be completed within a year, papers say.

If a trial court fails to do so, judges will have to explain the reasons for the delay to the high court, the top court said.

Last year, the Supreme Court barred lawmakers from elections if found guilty of offences carrying a jail term of at least two years.

Indian politics has been beset by corruption scandals in recent years. More than 150 MPs in the 543-seat lower house of parliament are said to be facing criminal charges.

The Times of India says "the Supreme Court on Monday took a second big step towards cleansing the political process".

"This order will also have a sanitising effect on political parties and ensure that they do not field candidates with criminal background," it adds.

Praising the order, The Pioneer says the order "will not only serve the cause of justice in general but also help de-criminalise Indian politics in particular".

The Hindustan Times echoes similar sentiments, saying the court has "made yet another intervention in the issue that could have far-reaching ramifications… This would ensure that lawmakers don't enjoy membership of the legislative body despite being charged with a heinous offence".

The paper adds that "rulings like the one given on Monday will give the movement for cleaner candidates a much-needed boost".

Staying with politics, the Election Commission (EC) is considering a proposal to increase the voting hours during the general elections "in light of a jump in the cumulative number of voters in the country and the trend of bigger turnout in recent elections", The Deccan Herald reports.

"While the polling duration currently is of nine hours, the EC is seeking to increase the same by an hour," the report said.

The EC has also taken several measures to stop the use of "black money" - cash that has not been declared or taxed - in the general elections.

Around 90 airports in the country have been "put on an alert to keep a check on transportation of huge amount of cash ahead of general elections", The Indian Express reports.

The poll watchdog has also made it mandatory for citizens to carry a valid identification document with any amount exceeding 50,000 rupees ($824; £495).

Wedding food

Staying with national news, one of India's top border forces has called for developing infrastructure along the India-China border, saying that it will "help in countering intrusions from the other side".

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) - force that guards the disputed India-China border - has urged the government to take infrastructure development along the border as a "top security requirement", The Tribune reports.

And finally, a heated dispute over the choice of food forced a couple to cancel their wedding in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, The Hindu reports.

The dispute began when the bride's family sent a dish made of rice and chicken (known as biryani) to the groom's family, who reportedly did not want to eat chicken.

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