Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Thursday welcomed the Supreme Court's direction to political parties to upload on their websites the reasons for selecting candidates with criminal antecedents.
Speaking to the media, Sibal said, "It's a good decision. Criminals have entered politics and people should know so that they can question these political parties. As part of the right to information, the voters will now be able to choose even between those who have minor criminal charges and those with serious criminal charges."
Senior Supreme Court lawyer and Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill has also welcomed the apex court's directive to political parties to publish all criminal records of its members on a public platform. He also called on the BJP and wondered whether the party will comply.
He said, "The Supreme Court's order is a good step for democracy. But the day the BJP lists this information on the website, that day the people will know that the party has a number of criminals in its ranks. The BJP has the highest number of criminals and when this information is published, all the fake and empty campaigns such as 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana' will burst like a gas balloon. All political parties will publish this information but I hope that the BJP does hide and forge the data."
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued guidelines to curb criminalization in politics. The apex court has ordered the political parties to disclose the criminal records of their candidates within 48 hours. The top court has ordered the parties to submit a compliance report of the same to the Election Commission within 72 hours, failing which a contempt plea can be filed. The top court also added that the parties will state the reasons why a person with a criminal background was given a ticket and will have to publish the details of criminal cases of their candidates on their website, social media platforms, and local newspapers.
While delivering the verdict, the bench comprising of Justice RF Nariman and Justice Ravindra Bhat the top court observed that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in the last 4 elections. The court was hearing the contempt petitions filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and Ram Babu Singh Thakur. The contempt plea was filed on the apex court's September 2018 judgment directing political parties to publicise the criminal background and pending cases of their candidates, adding that it should also be mentioned in their nomination forms. However, the plea stated that the apex court's direction was violated in the subsequent assembly elections and the 2019 General elections.