Political parties will now have to compulsorily publish details of candidates with pending criminal cases on party websites and social media platforms, along with reasons for their selection.
Following the Supreme Court's order in February early this year, the Election Commission had asked political parties in March to explain why they chose candidates with criminal history to contest elections.
The directions come at a time when the Assembly elections in Bihar are all set to be held in three phases and would also be the first time when such details of their candidates would be made public by parties.
The parties will also have to justify why other individuals without criminal history could not be selected as candidates.
"The reasons for selection shall be with reference to the qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned, and not mere winnability at the polls," the Commission said on September 25.
"It is mandatory for political parties (at the central and state election level) to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases who have been selected as candidates, along with the reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates," the Commission said.
"The information will also be published in one local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper. Besides it would also be shared on the official social media platforms of the political party, including Facebook and Twitter," the EC explained.
Earlier this month, the EC had tightened the norms of publicity of criminal history of candidates by introducing a timeline on when such advertisements should be published during polls.
In October, 2018, the Commission had issued directions making it compulsory for candidates contesting elections and their respective parties to reveal their criminal history in TV and newspapers at least three times during electioneering.
The EC has now made it clear that the first "publicity" of criminal records should be within first four days of the last date of withdrawal of candidature. It also said that the second publicity should be between fifth and eighth day of the last date of withdrawal.
The third and final publicity should be from ninth day till the last day of campaign.
"This timeline will help the voters in exercising their choices in more informed manner," statement by the Election Commission read.
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