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Publish criminal history of candidates, SC orders parties

The judgment is applicable to organisations both at the Central and State levels

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered political parties to publish the entire criminal history of their candidates for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections along with the reasons that goaded them to field suspected criminals over decent people.

The information should be published in a local and a national newspaper as well as the parties’ social media handles. It should mandatorily be published either within 48 hours of the selection of candidates or less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.

A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman, in the judgment, ordered political parties to submit compliance reports with the Election Commission of India within 72 hours or risk contempt of court action.

The judgment is applicable to parties both at the Central and State levels.

The judgment by the Bench, also comprising Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, signified the court’s alarm at the unimpeded rise of criminals, often facing heinous charges like rape and murder, encroaching into the country’s political and electoral realms.

Detailed information

The published information on the criminal antecedents of a candidate should be detailed and include the nature of the offences, charges framed against him, the court concerned and the case number.

A political party should explain to the public through its published material how the “qualifications or achievements or merit” of a candidate, charged with a crime, impressed it enough to cast aside the smear of his criminal background.

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