sUPREME COURT
File photo: Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, February 13, 2020:

Citing an “alarming rise in the criminalisation of politics”, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that all Political parties must upload on their websites details of criminal cases against poll candidates and the reasons for selecting them.

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In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court has directed all political parties to publish criminal record details of candidates in elections within 48 hours of their selections. The apex Court has also asked political parties to publish reasons for selection of candidates with criminal records.

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“The reason to select candidates should be based on merit and not winnability. Winnability can’t be the only justification,” the top court directed in its order.

It may be mentioned here that the verdict has been given based on petitions filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others.

In a five-judge constitution bench had in 2018 had urged the Central Government to ban politicians with criminal backgrounds from contesting elections.

The Supreme Court’s order states that each contesting candidate shall fill up the form as provided by the Election Commission and the form must contain all the particulars as required therein.

It shall state, in bold letters, with regard to the criminal cases pending against the candidate. If a candidate is contesting an election on the ticket of a particular party, he/she is required to inform the party about the criminal cases pending against him/her.

The political party concerned shall be obligated to put up on its website the aforesaid information pertaining to candidates having criminal antecedents.

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