44% MLAs across India have criminal cases against them, says election watchdog

44% MLAs across India have criminal cases against them, says election watchdog

44 per cent MLAs across India have criminal cases

A recent analysis conducted by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the National Election Watch (NEW) has revealed that nearly half of the MLAs in state assemblies across India have declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits. The analysis examined the self-sworn affidavits of current MLAs in 28 state assemblies and 2 union territories nationwide, covering a total of 4,001 MLAs out of the 4,033 individuals serving.

Key findings

- Out of the 4,001 MLAs analysed, 1,765 or about 44 per cent have declared criminal cases against themselves, including charges related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and crimes against women, among others.
- Of these, 1,136 or about 28 per cent have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
- Kerala tops the list with 95 out of 135 MLAs, almost 70 per cent, having declared criminal cases against themselves. Bihar comes next with 161 out of 242 MLAs (67 per cent), followed by Delhi, 44 out of 70 MLAs (63 per cent).
- Delhi also has the highest percentage of MLAs with serious criminal cases (53 per cent), followed by Bihar (50 per cent), Maharashtra (40 per cent), Jharkhand (39 per cent), Telangana (39 per cent), and Uttar Pradesh (38 per cent).
- A total of 114 MLAs have declared cases pertaining to crimes against women, with 14 of them specifically declaring cases related to rape (IPC Section-376).
- The average assets per MLA from state assemblies were found to be Rs 13.63 crores. However, the average assets of MLAs with declared criminal cases stood higher at Rs 16.36 crores, compared to Rs 11.45 crores for those with no criminal cases.
- Karnataka has the highest average assets per MLA with Rs 64.39 crores for its 223 MLAs, followed by Andhra Pradesh with Rs 28.24 crores for 174 MLAs, and Maharashtra with Rs 23.51 crores for 284 MLAs. Tripura has the lowest average assets with Rs 1.54 crores for its 59 MLAs.


The findings of the analysis raise serious concerns about the quality and integrity of the elected representatives in India. The presence of a large number of MLAs with criminal backgrounds may undermine the rule of law and erode public trust in democracy. Moreover, the high correlation between criminality and wealth may indicate the influence of money power in elections and politics.

The ADR and the NEW have urged the voters to scrutinize the candidates' backgrounds before casting their votes and demand a clean and transparent electoral system. They have also appealed to the political parties to refrain from giving tickets to candidates with criminal records and to disclose the criteria for selecting candidates.

The analysis is based on the affidavits filed by the MLAs prior to contesting their most recent elections. The data is available on the website of ADR  and NEW .
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