The Supreme Court on Thursday approved the government’s proposal for setting up 12 special courts to try pending criminal cases against 1,581 members of Parliament and state legislators. This is a positive development, given the dozens of cases where politicians have been able to delay court judgements.

Much more is needed to decriminalize politics apart from fast-track courts—both political parties and voters prefer tainted politicians for different reasons.

The rising costs of contesting elections put pressure on parties to search for underground modes of financing, and they end up fielding candidates who can mobilize large amounts of cash.

Voters, too, prefer ‘strongmen’ who can secure their interests, even by unfair means.

Decriminalization of politics will be difficult without complementary reforms, especially with respect to transparency in campaign financing and better delivery of essential public goods such as security of life and contracts, and access to public utilities.