Explain The Reason For Selecting Criminal Candidates: SC To Political Parties
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked all political parties to reveal the criminal history of their candidates in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls within 48 hours of selection of the candidate or two weeks of nomination.
The details, which include the nature of crime and stage of the trial of the candidate, are expected to be published in local newspapers and uploaded on official websites and social media handles of the respective parties.
The Court ruled that all candidates must be selected based on merit and achievement and the reasons for choosing the candidate must be published by the party.
"Winnability cannot be the only reason for selecting a candidate with criminal antecedents," the bench stated.
Compliance reports with respect to the directions must be filed by all parties before the Election Commission. If any party fails to do so, it can result in a contempt action, the court warned.
The Election Commission (EC) of India has been directed to follow up the matter.
A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Ravindra Bhat passed the order in the contempt petitions filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and Rambabu Singh Thakur claiming that the EC had failed to comply with the directions of the Constitution Bench in 2018 with respect to the decriminalization of politics.
On September 25, 2018, a five-judge bench of the SC had directed that the candidates should widely publish the details of their criminal history if any, to the public.
The Court directed that criminal history must be mentioned in the nomination forms of all candidates. The political party and the candidate must advertise it thrice in newspapers of the area and also in electronic media after the nomination papers are filed.
The Supreme Court's instructions come after the Delhi assembly elections, where more than half of the newly-elected MLAs face criminal charges, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms.
As per the ADR report, the number of Delhi MLAs with criminal cases has doubled, from 24 in 2015 to 43 in 2020 (out of a total of 70). The number of MLAs with severe criminal cases is 37, which include rape and attempt to murder.