NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday declined to bar politicians facing criminal cases from contesting elections, saying that it did not want to enter the arena of the legislature.

The country's apex court observed that rather the parliament should enact such laws barring political leaders facing criminal charges from contesting elections.

The filing of a charge-sheet cannot be the ground for the disqualification of political candidates, the court said in its observation. A five-judge bench of the court issued directions with a view to curb the criminalization of politics, and reserved its final verdict on Aug. 28.

The bench observed that the candidates must declare their criminal antecedents, and that political parties must put these up on their websites.

"Parliament should make a law to ensure candidates with criminal antecedents don't enter public life and take part in law-making," it said in one of its observations.

Presently, under the country's Representation of Peoples Act, politicians are barred from running for office only after being convicted in a court.