Election Commission should create Mobile App with Information about Criminal Antecedents of Candidates

Greeva Garg – 

Published on August 10, 2021 at 18:28 IST

The Supreme Court of India has directed the Election Commission of India (ECI) to develop a mobile application for the eligible candidates to publish their criminal antecedents on it, to enable voters to get information about the candidates.

The Supreme Court has additionally directed the political parties to upload the details of their candidates with criminal backgrounds on the homepage of the respective party website so that each voter gets such information on their mobile phones.

The division Bench comprising of Justice Rohitan Fali Nariman and Justice BR Gavai gave their verdict on contempt petitions filed by Brajesh Singh and Manish Kumar, alleging that the Supreme Court’s earlier directions passed on February 13, 2020, were not complied with by political parties during the Bihar Assembly Elections.

In its Judgment, the Supreme Court observed that “The menace of criminalisation in the Indian political system is growing day by day. No one can deny that for maintaining purity of the political system, persons with criminal antecedents and who are involved in the criminalisation of the political system should not be permitted to be law-makers.”

The Apex court had expressed disapproval over the derogation of orders passed by the Court on February 13, 2020, and modified its earlier order and clarified that the details are required to be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate and not prior to two weeks before the first date of filing of nominations.

The bench stated that“If any political party fails to submit such a compliance report with the ECI, “the ECI shall bring such noncompliance by the political party to the notice of this Court as being in contempt of this Court’s Orders/directions, which shall in future be viewed very seriously.”

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal weighed in that while the ECI has significant powers under Section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, it has to be carefully exercised so it does not affect the polity of the country.

Also Read: Procedure of filing an Election Petition in the Supreme Court

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