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Supreme Court: Parties must disclose criminal cases of candidates on sites, newspapers

Parties must disclose criminal cases of candidates.
Parties must disclose criminal cases of candidates.

A bench of Justices RF Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat asked the Election Commission to come up with a framework that can help curb criminalization of politics.

The Supreme Court declared on Thursday, February 14 that political parties must upload details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting elections on their websites and all other social media platforms.

A bench headed by Justice F Nariman from the parties over the selection of such candidates said the information must be uploaded on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well as in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.

The Supreme Court said the parties must submit a report of compliance to the Election Commission within 74 hours of selecting such candidates, failing which the poll panel must inform the apex court.

The court’s direction came after it noted an alarming increase in criminalization of politics in the last four general elections. In September 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting polls and had called for a wider publicity, through print and electronic media about antecedents of candidates. The court passed orders on a contempt plea that had raised the issue of criminalization of politics, claiming that directions given by the apex court in its September, 2018 verdict were not being followed.

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