New Delhi: Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday expressed grave concern over a large number of criminal cases pending against politicians and said these should be fast-tracked.
Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu with Union I & B Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj releasing 'The Republican Ethic', selected speeches of President Ram Nath Kovind, in New Delhi on Saturday
At the launch of two volumes of select speeches of President Ram Nath Kovind here, Naidu also said there has been a "steady decline" in the quality of public discourse over the last few years and appealed to political parties to evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members.
The Supreme Court was on Tuesday informed that there were 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies.
Naidu emphasised the need to have more persons in leadership positions, who are mindful of not only of "constitutional morality but also of institutional dignity and individual integrity".
He said that the anti-defection law needed to be implemented in letter and spirit and with sincerity. "If a member desires to change the party, he must do so by resigning from the membership of the House. The anti-defection law should be implemented within three months. I know that this is absolutely feasible since I could dispose of the petitions that I received within this timeframe," Naidu said.
Since the integrity of the election process is essential for a healthy democracy, it would be ideal if the judiciary can expedite the decisions on election petitions. If needed, special courts could be set up for dealing with election petitions, he said.
The two books Naidu launched are "The Republican Ethic", a collection of 95 select speeches out of the total 243 made by the President in the first year in office, and "LoktantraKeSwar", a collection of 109 speeches in Hindi.