Election Commission to SC: Taken steps to curb criminalisation of politics

  1. The Election Commission (EC) has told the Supreme Court that it has taken measures to curb criminalization of politics. Criminalization of politics means the rising participation of criminals and people facing criminal charges in politics.
  2. EC’s response in Supreme Court comes in the backdrop of a contempt plea which was recently filed alleging that the SC’s directions in 2018 judgement had not been carried out by the EC in letter and spirit
  3. In 2018, the Supreme Court in the Public Interest Foundation & Others vs. Union of India case had issued a number of directions such as a) while filling the nomination forms, candidates must declare their criminal past and the cases pending against them in bold letters, b) Political parties to be responsible for putting up details of criminal cases filed against their candidates on their websites, c) Candidate and the concerned political party will have to issue a declaration in widely circulated newspapers in the locality and in electronic media about his or her criminal antecedents.
  4. The court also said that the Parliament should bring a law to ensure that candidates with criminal antecedents do not enter public life or become lawmakers. The court observed that it cannot add to the grounds of disqualification beyond Article 102(a) to (d) and the law made by the Parliament under Article 102(e).
  5. The Election Commission has said to the SC that it had amended Form 26 and information regarding the same has been provided to Chief Electoral Offices of all states and UTs as well as all recognized national and state political parties.
  6. Form 26 is the affidavit a candidate has to file along with his nomination paper. Failure to furnish this information, concealment of information or giving of false information is an offence under Section125A of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.  The amended Form 26 asks for information regarding all criminal cases, including FIRs, pending against a candidate.