Following the Supreme Court's order directing every political party to put up a list of MPs and MLAs with criminal antecedents on their website for public awareness, the Election Commission wrote to the chiefs of various political parties, saying that it is taking note of the parties that haven't complied with Apex Court’s directions.
As per a PTI report, the apex election body also apprised the party heads that it has created a fund in which fines for contempt of court can be deposited for failing to comply with the Apex Court's directions. The fund was created a month ago. The Election Commission also reminded political parties that the Commission had been ordered by the Supreme Court to conduct an extensive campaign to tell every voter about his or her right to know and the availability of information on all contesting candidates' criminal records.
After the Apex Court’s direction, the Election Commission of India has created a special cell to monitor these compliances so that the Court can be apprised promptly of non-compliance by any political party of the directions contained in the orders as fleshed out by the ECI.
The Supreme Court on Aug 10 imposed fines on various political parties for contempt of its order regarding non-disclosure of criminal antecedents of its candidates. A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh each on political parties CPI(M) & NCP. The bench also imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh each on the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Janta Dal, RJD, CPI & LJP. Apart from this, the bench has also issued a slew of directions which includes one to the political parties to publish information regarding criminal antecedents of candidates on the homepage of their websites.
"...thus making it easier for the voter to get to the information that has to be supplied. It will also become necessary now to have on the homepage a caption which states 'candidates with criminal antecedents'," the order said.
The court has pronounced judgment on a batch of petitions seeking contempt action against political parties for allegedly not obeying February 2020 orders of the Top Court in Bihar Assembly polls. The Apex Court's February 2020 verdict had clearly stated that all political parties to explain why the candidates with criminal cases were selected, must upload details of cases against candidates on the party website, reasons for selecting such candidates.