The possibility of improving the quality of leadership is the redeeming feature of democracy. Declining standards in political probity, the unrepresentative character of the elected legislatures, corrupt practices like electoral bonds are major concerns and call for reform of the electoral system.
According to an analysis of affidavits of winners in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 43% have criminal cases and 29% have serious criminal cases against them including offences where maximum punishment is five years or more. These offences are non-bailable and relate to assault, kidnap, rape, murder, electoral offences like bribery, corruption causing loss to exchequer, and crimes against women. In 2009, it was 30% and 14% respectively, and the present figures indicate that the number of elected parliamentarians with serious offences has doubled over the past 10 years. As excuses, the foisting of false cases and the pathologies of the criminal justice system are touted to prevent reform. Ironically, a weak criminal justice system favours the perpetuation of political deceit. To expect that the narrow self-interests of political parties will let them push for electoral reform that improves leadership quality would be deluding.