A day after the Supreme Court delivered an important verdict pertaining to the decriminalisation of politics, the Election Commission of India on Friday announced that it would implement the apex court’s directives. Maintaining that the EC consistently espoused “loftiest” normative standards in public life, it welcomed the SC order. According to the EC, this would lead to the overall betterment of electoral democracy. At the same time, it stressed that measures ensuring publicity of criminal antecedents were being implemented in all elections since November 2018.
Election Commission of India to implement the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court concerning criminal antecedents of candidates by reiterating its existing instructions with suitable modifications https://t.co/4dw0bQJ5Zl— Sheyphali Sharan (@SpokespersonECI) February 14, 2020
On February 14, an SC bench comprising Justice RF Nariman and Justice Ravindra Bhat passed an order on the contempt petitions which complained that the Election Commission of India had failed to comply with a 2018 order pertaining to the decriminalisation of politics. It directed all the political parties to publish the criminal antecedents of their candidates in Lok Sabha as well as Assembly polls on their official social media handles and websites besides local newspapers. Political parties must follow this process within 48 hours of selection of the candidate or within two weeks of filing nomination papers, whichever is earlier.
Furthermore, the reason for selecting the candidate with pending criminal cases must be disclosed by the party. The verdict elaborates that the political parties would have to submit a report of compliance to the EC within 72 hours of the selection of the candidate. If a political party fails to do so, the EC has been empowered to approach the SC citing contempt of the court's order. All the prominent political parties including Congress and BJP are expected to follow suit.