BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked political parties to upload on their websites details of criminal cases against poll candidates and the reasons for selecting them. The apex court also expressed concern over the “criminalisation of politics” in the last four national elections.
The judges said it would be mandatory for parties to upload the details of their candidates’ criminal history on their websites, on social media and in newspapers within 48 hours of selection. “Political parties will have to specify reasons for selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them on their website,” the court said in a landmark observation.
Parties must also submit the same details to the Election Commission within 72 hours, the court ordered.
There were other stinging observations from the top court. “The reason to select candidates should be based on merit and not winnability. Winnability can’t be the only justification,” the top court said.
If political parties failed to give the details, or the Election Commission was unable to implement the directive, it would be considered contempt of court, the judges said. The verdict comes on contempt petitions filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others.
In September 2018, a five-judge constitution Bench had asked the central government to immediately enact laws to ban those involved in serious crimes from contesting elections and becoming party officials.
With agency inputs