Mandatory for parties to explain selection of candidates with criminal record, says EC

The poll panel on Saturday announced Assembly election schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa

Press Trust of India January 08, 2022 22:47:30 IST
Mandatory for parties to explain selection of candidates with criminal record, says EC

File image of the Election Commission of India. News18

New Delhi: Political parties fielding candidates with criminal cases will have to mandatorily upload on their website details of such persons as also reasons for selecting them to contest the polls, the Election Commission said on Saturday.

The poll panel on Saturday announced assembly election schedule for Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The polls will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases, with counting of votes on March 10.

The political party concerned will then submit a compliance report with the poll panel within 72 hours of the selection of the candidate.

If a political party fails to submit such compliance report with the Election Commission (EC), the poll panel will bring "such non-compliance by the political party concerned to the notice of the Supreme Court as being in contempt of its directions".

Following the directions of the Supreme Court in March, 2020, in successive polls, the Commission had been asking parties to furnish such information.

It is 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 details such as whether charges have been framed who have been selected as candidates.

The parties will also have to provide the reasons for such selection, "as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates," the Commission's statement on the five assembly elections said.

"The reasons as to selection shall be with reference to the qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned, and not mere 'winnability' at the polls," the EC said.

The information will also be published in one local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper, and has to be uploaded on the official social media platforms of the political party, including Facebook and Twitter. These details will have to be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate and not prior to two weeks before the first date of filing of nominations.

Candidates with criminal antecedents are also required to publish information in this regard in newspapers and through television channels on three occasions during the campaign period so that electors have sufficient time to know about the background of such candidates.

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