Indian media: Mixed views on court ruling to 'clean up' politics

India parliament
Image caption More than a quarter of India's MPs admit they face criminal charges

Media in India are expressing mixed views on the Supreme Court's order to "clean-up" politics in the country.

The court on Thursday ruled that people who are in jail, with or without conviction, cannot contest elections, reports say.

In another ruling on Wednesday, the court said that federal and state assembly members would be barred from elections and removed from office if found guilty of offences carrying a jail term of at least two years.

Newspapers, including The Asian Age and The Times of India, feel the court's orders are "in the direction of cleansing the nation's politics of people with criminal antecedents".

But some other papers, including the Hindustan Times and The Indian Express, express concerns over the potential misuse of the court's verdicts.

"Political rivals, especially the ruling party or combine, can target each other in the run-up to elections," the Hindustan Times says.

Meanwhile, the Allahabad high court has banned political parties from organising mass gatherings of specific caste groups in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, saying the practice divides people.

Newspapers, including The Pioneer, the DNA and The Tribune, termed the order "historic" as it dealt "a severe blow" to the state's caste-dominated politics.

The Asian Age reports that the federal cabinet has approved the withdrawal of the controversial Rent Act of 1958 and replace it with a new law.

The archaic law was aimed at protecting tenants from arbitrary rent hikes and forced eviction by landlords.

But many tenants reportedly misuse the law and continue to pay paltry rents for expensive properties.

"The existing law, while giving protection to the tenants who pay paltry rent, was seen as serving as an instrument for harassment of landlords who became helpless and could not increase rent despite massive inflation," the PTI news agency says.

'Threat to Ishrat family'

The family of female student Ishrat Jahan, allegedly killed in a "staged" police clash in the western state of Gujarat in 2004, has sought security from the government, saying some unknown people are threatening them, the NDTV website reports.

"We are being threatened in every way possible, we don't feel safe," the website quoted one of the family members as saying.

Elsewhere, a government official in the eastern state of Bihar is facing a police investigation over gifting gold worth $384,000 (£250,000) to his wife, reports The Pioneer.

"The official's love to gift his wife gold ornaments surprised the police team. It seems he gifted his wife gold ornaments whenever he got a hefty bribe," an official of the probe team said.

Meanwhile, an "insensitive security check" of an amputee at Mumbai airport has become the most-shared story on social networking websites, says The Times of India.

Marketing professional Suranjana Ghosh was in tears when she was made to take off her artificial limb for security check at the airport on 5 July, an experience she called "humiliating".

In sports, Indian-administered Kashmir is all set to host JK [Jammu and Kashmir] Racing Series, a domestic car racing event, on the streets of Srinagar in September, the Hindustan Times reports.

"We've all seen F1 races around the streets of Monaco, but mark my words this will also be a grand spectacle. The setting is very picturesque," the head of JK Racing Series Sanjay Sharma said.

Staying with sports, praises Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni for taking his side home in the finals of the Celkon Mobile Cup tri-series in the West Indies.

"Once again, MS Dhoni reduced a lost match into a one-on-one contest with an opposition (Sri Lankan) bowler, and knocked off the 15 required in just three hits," the website says.

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