New Delhi, September 25: Hearing the debate on candidates having criminal charges during contesting elections, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting an election. The apex court expressed anxiety at the increasing criminalization of politics but left the matter to be addressed by the Parliament.
The five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that candidates cannot be disqualified merely because charges have been framed against them in a criminal case. The bench has urged the legislature to consider framing law to ensure decriminalization.
(i) Each contesting candidate shall fill up the form as provided by the Election Commission and the form must contain all the particulars as required therein.
(ii) It shall state, in bold letters, with regard to the criminal cases pending against the candidate.
(iii) If a candidate is contesting an election on the ticket of a particular party, he/she is required to inform the party about the criminal cases pending against him/her.
(iv) The concerned political party shall be obligated to put up on its website the aforesaid information pertaining to candidates having criminal antecedents.
(v) The candidate as well as the concerned political party shall issue a declaration in the widely circulated newspapers in the locality about the antecedents of the candidate and also give wide publicity in the electronic media. When we say wide publicity, we mean that the 98 same shall be done at least thrice after filing of the nomination papers.
Leaving the decision on the parliament to decide, the Supreme Court Bench observed that time has come that the Parliament must make law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter into the political stream.