The Supreme Court on Thursday will pronounce its verdict on a contempt plea which raised the issue of the criminalisation of politics. The court will be deciding whether directions can be issued political parties to deny tickets to candidates who have a criminal background.
Petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay who is also a Supreme Court lawyer wants to prevent political parties from giving tickets to criminals. The judgement will be delivered by the bench headed by Justice RF Nariman.
Back in September 2018 a 5 judge-bench had asked the central government to enact and implement laws so as to ban persons with serious criminal backgrounds from receiving party tickets. In the contempt petition that was filed by Ashwini Upadhyay, she stated that the Central government and the Election Commission had made little to no effort toward the order.
After hearing Ashwini's arguments, the court had sought responses from the Cabinet Secretary and the Law Secretary. Earlier, the Supreme Court had claimed that there was an urgent need to do something to stop the criminalisation of politics. The court had also asked the Election Commission to compile a brief within a week.
According to the Election Commission, the court's order to publish the past criminal offences and criminal history of the candidates in newspaper thrice and electronic media after filing nomination failed to yield the desired result of decriminalising politics. The Election Commission added that the court should indeed direct parties not to issue a ticket to those who possess a criminal background.
Justice Rf Nariman and justice S Ravindra Bhatt had asked the Election Commission and the petitioner to sit together and keep national interest in mind and prepare a roadmap to stop the criminalisation of politics. After this, the Election Commission and the petitioner had presented their outlines before the court, after which the court reserved the decision in this case.
The petitioner alleged that the Election Commission has not attempted to implement court's order to disclose candidates' criminal history 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.