SC directs parties to upload on website details of pending criminal cases against candidates
NEW DELHI :
THE Supreme Court on Thursday directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, noting that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics. The apex court said political parties will also have to upload reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases on their website. A bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said that the reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases should be justifiable with reference to qualification and merit and not merely on winnability.
The court passed orders on a contempt plea which raised the issue of criminalisation of politics claiming that directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict relating to disclosure of criminal antecedents by candidates are not being followed. It also directed that political parties will publish these details on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and in one local vernacular and one national newspaper. The top court said political parties will have to submit a compliance report in this regard to the Election Commission within 72 hours of selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them. While pronouncing the order, the bench said it appears that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in the last four general elections.
The apex court had earlier observed that the issue of penalising political parties or candidates for not disclosing criminal antecedents has to be dealt with carefully as serious allegations with “political overtones” are often being made against candidates. In September 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting polls and called for a wider publicity, through print and electronic media about antecedents of candidates.
SC order will strengthen electoral democracy: BJP
NEW DELHI :
THE ruling BJP on Thursday said the Supreme Court direction that all political parties upload on their websites details of pending criminal cases against their candidates would strengthen electoral democracy. It also said the directions would enable voters to make a choice keeping “all factors” in mind when they cast their vote. The Supreme Court on Thursday directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, noting that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics. BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said the orders of the top court have to be complied with. “It strengthens the electoral democratic process in enabling the voters to make a choice keeping all factors in mind,” he said.