Other States

Goa CEO directs ROs to monitor compliance over criminal record publicity by AAP, NCP candidates

Goa Chief Electoral Officer Kunal has directed Returning Officers (ROs)/Magistrates to monitor compliance of criminal record publicity by five candidates in Goa Assembly by-polls. The candidates include two of Aam Aadmi Party(AAP), one each of Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and one Independent.

This direction comes following a complaint by Delhi-based election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms(ADR) that in all five candidates contesting the Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls in Goa need to comply with publicity in newspapers about the criminal record submitted by them in their affidavits while filing nominations.

The body which works for transparency and reforms in electoral democracy, which scrutinises affidavits filed by candidates for their financial information and criminal records as part of voter awareness, had earlier emailed to the Mr. Kunal about two AAP candidates Elvis Gomes (South Goa Lok Sabha) and Yogesh Khandeparkar (Shiroda Assembly); Sena’s Rakhi Naik (South Goa LS); NCP’s Sanjay Barde (Mapusa Assembly); and Aishwarya Salgaonkar, Independent (North Goa LS).

While Mr. Gomes has a criminal case pertaining to Goa State Housing Board land acquisition when he was a bureaucrat, while Mr. Khandeparkar has a case under Section 354 of Indian Penal code and Section 8 of Goa Children’s Act, 2003 relating to sexual abuse and outraging of modesty.

In her affidavit, Ms. Naik mentions cases of cheque bouncing, while Ms. Salgaonkar has cases in Porvorim and Mapusa courts regarding cheque bouncing and other issues(details not given). Mr. Barde has a criminal case pending in a Judicial Magistrate First Class Court in Mapusa under the Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonour of cheque and he has been convicted by the said court.

Goa convenor of ADR, Bhaskar Assoldekar told The Hindu on Friday that the ADR scrutinised affidavits of 16 candidates in the fray for Assembly by-polls and 12 for the two Lok Sabha seats and wrote to Goa CEO that the said five need to release advertisements in prominent newspapers three times before the date of election. Besides, their respective political parties too need to update their websites with this information as per Supreme Court order dated September 25, 2018, and subsequent directives from Election Commission of India (ECI) to CEOs of States and Union Territories.

When contacted, Mr. Kunal told The Hindu that he has forwarded the complaints to the respective Collectors/ROs to monitor compliance.

This rule of publicity of criminal antecedents is being implemented for the first time across the country.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 4:33:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/goa-ceo-directs-ros-to-monitor-compliance-over-criminal-record-publicity-by-aap-ncp-candidates/article26817540.ece

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