Provide reasons for fielding candidates with criminal record: Supreme Court to political parties

The SC expressed its concern over the alarming rise in the criminalisation of politics and exercised its constitutional power demanding justification from political parties for fielding candidates with a criminal background in general and assembly polls.

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Supreme Court on Thursday made it mandatory for all the political parties to upload the details of criminal cases registered against their election candidates on their party’s website while providing reasons for fielding such candidates. 

The apex court expressed its concern over the alarming rise in the criminalisation of politics and exercised its constitutional power demanding justification from political parties for fielding candidates with a criminal background in general and assembly polls. 

A bench consisting of Justices Rohinton F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat said that the political parties will have to provide reasons for fielding candidates with a criminal record and directed the political parties to make such information public within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate. 

“Political parties must put all the information in public domain about a candidate within 48 hours after clearing the name and the party must also submit a report regarding publication within 24 hours after the nomination of the candidate,” the Supreme Court directed. 

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The bench stated that the parties can’t justify ‘winnability’ as the only reason for selection. The selection of the candidates must be justifiable with reference to the qualifications, achievements and merit. 

The apex court also directed that political parties must submit details of these candidates with the Election Commission of India (ECI) within 72 hours of their selection. 

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In case the directions given by the Supreme Court do not comply with any political party, the EC can approach the apex court and failure to comply will result in contempt of court. 

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