The Supreme Court on Thursday directed political parties to upload on their websites the details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls.
The top court said there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in the last 4 general elections.
The court passed orders on a contempt plea which raised the issue of criminalisation of politics claiming that directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict relating to disclosure of criminal antecedents by candidates are not being followed.
The apex court also said that political parties will have to specify reasons for selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them on their website.
"If parties fail to comply with its directions on candidates with pending criminal cases, EC shall bring it to notice of apex court," the court said.
It also said that the political parties will publish details of pending criminal cases against candidates on social media platforms and newspapers:
Supreme Court lawyer and petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay had demanded that political parties should be prevented from giving tickets to criminals.
Judgment on the plea filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay was delivered today by a bench headed by Justice RF Nariman.
In September 2018, a 5-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.
BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay had filed a contempt petition against the central government and the Election Commission alleging that no serious efforts were made in the last six months despite a court order to stop the criminalisation of politics. After hearing the arguments of advocate Ashwini, the court sought a response from the Cabinet Secretary and Law Secretary, Government of India.
Earlier, in this case, expressing concern over criminalisation of politics, the Supreme Court had stressed the need to do something soon to stop it. The court asked the Election Commission to prepare and present the outline within a week.
The court gave these instructions when the Election Commission said that the court's order to publish criminal details of the candidates is not having any effect to check criminalisation in politics. The commission said that the court should direct political parties not to give tickets to people of criminal background.
A bench of justices RF Nariman and S Ravindra Bhatt had asked the Election Commission and the petitioner to sit together and look at national interest within a week and prepare a roadmap to stop the criminalisation of politics.
After that, both of them had presented the outline before the court in this case, after which the court reserved the decision in this case.
In this case, the court had earlier ordered that each candidate will publish his criminal details in the newspaper thrice after the nomination is filed and will also advertise on the TV channel. The petitioner had alleged that the Election Commission has not attempted to implement it effectively, nor has it decided the time of listing and publicity of newspapers nor the TV channel in which the candidate has to publish the details.
(With agency inputs)