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Election Commission hails SC order, to modify instructions on criminal antecedents of candidates

ANI | Updated: Feb 14, 2020 22:17 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb 14 (ANI): The Election Commission on Friday termed as "landmark" the Supreme Court order for the decriminalisation of politics, saying it is bound to go a long way in setting new moral yardsticks for the betterment of electoral democracy.
The poll panel also said that that it will suitably modify its instructions about the publicity of criminal antecedents by the candidates to implement the directions of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit.
In a press release, the Election Commission said it has consistently espoused "rigorous and loftiest" normative standards in public life.
The panel said that the Supreme Court had on Thursday directed that it shall be mandatory for political parties (at the central and state election level) to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases (including the nature of the offences, and relevant particulars such as if charges have been framed, the concerned court, the case number) of candidates.
The parties are also required to give reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.
The reasons for selection shall be with reference to qualifications, achievements, and merit of the candidate concerned and not mere "winnability" at the polls.
The court had said that the information shall also be published in a local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper and on the official social media platforms of the political party including Facebook and Twitter.
The court also gave directions that details shall be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate or not less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.
The political party shall submit a report of compliance with these directions with the Election Commission within 72 hours of the selection of the candidate.
The court also said that if a political party fails to submit such a compliance report with the Election Commission, the panel will bring such non-compliance by the political party concerned to the notice of the Supreme Court as "being in contempt of the court's orders/directions."
"Election Commission of India whole-heartedly welcomes this landmark order, which is bound to go a long way in setting new moral yardsticks for the overall betterment of electoral democracy," an official release said.
The commission said it had in October 2018 issued detailed instructions and guidelines for ensuring the publicity of criminal antecedents by the candidates and the concerned political parties.
"This is being implemented in all the elections since November 2018. Now, the Commission proposes to reiterate these instructions with suitable modifications in order to implement the directions of Supreme Court in the letter as well as in spirit," the release said. (ANI)