Decriminalisation of politics: SC asks to publish criminal records of MLAs, MPs on website, social media

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(Online Desk)

Terming increasing criminalization of politics a grave issue, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed all political parties to publish within 48 hours, the criminal records of their candidates in assembly and parliament polls at their respective websites.

The website of the party should also give reasons as to why the candidates are being fielded for election.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman directed all political parties to publish the criminal history of their candidates in local and national newspapers, on their social media handles and electronic media too.

“Winnability can’t be the only justification,” ruled the top court.

Political parties should furnish a compliance report with the Election Commission about complying with the Court’s directions, failure of which can lead to the initiation of contempt proceedings.

The order in the contempt petitions filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and Rambabu Singh Thakur complained that the Election Commission of India had failed to abide by the directions laid down by the Constitution Bench in 2018 with respect to the decriminalization of politics.

In its September 25, 2018 judgment, the top court had suggested the enactment of a strong law to decriminalize politics. It had also issued directions to contesting candidates to disclose details of pending criminal cases against him/her in the form provided by the EC. It had ordered political parties to publicise on their websites and in print and electronic media about the criminal antecedents of its candidates. But the EC did not make the necessary amendments to the rules.

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