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Election Commission warns parties on criminal cases

Disclose antecedents of candidates or face action, says poll panel.

Candidates with criminal antecedents and their political parties can be charged with contempt of the Supreme Court if they fail to widely publicise the cases against them as prescribed. They may also be penalised for false statements, the Election Commission has said.

Separate formats have been specified for the candidates and the parties to submit reports about publication of the declaration. The failure of the candidates and the parties to publicise the details in the manner prescribed may be a ground for post-election action like election petition or contempt of court.

The court has made it mandatory for the candidates and their parties to publish or broadcast details of the cases against them at least three times ahead of elections. The ruling applies to all candidates in the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana Assembly elections. The parties are also required to upload the details on their websites.

If anyone furnishes a false statement, the Election Commission can act under various provisions, including Section 171 (G) of the Indian Penal Code that prescribes a fine.

The Election Commission has received a representation about expenses on television and newspaper advertisements of criminal antecedents, and it may take a decision on Monday. “It is up to them to get advertisements published in television channels and newspapers with wider circulation in the constituencies or districts concerned, or publicise information about the cases through the media,” said a senior official of the Election Commission.

“Expenditure on advertisements has to be borne by the candidate and the political party concerned. Currently, it has to be accounted for in the calculation of election expense of a candidate. We have received representations in this regard and requesting an increase in the ceiling of expenditure for candidates,” the official said.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 2:26:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/election-commission-warns-parties-on-criminal-cases/article25469629.ece

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