PIL on disclosure of criminal antecedents of candidates withdrawn

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking immediate compliance of the recent judgment by the Supreme Court for advertising criminal antecedents of candidates in the election campaign has been withdrawn by the petitioner after the Delhi High Court refused to pass any direction on it.

The court asked petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay to move the appropriate court and observed: “The Election Commission has notified elections. If you think that elections are happening in violation to the Supreme Court guidelines, you go to the Supreme Court. Now elections have been notified, we will not interfere. What is the need of the guidelines when a Constitution bench has passed the judgement?”

The petition sought framing of guidelines as the apex court in its recent judgement pointed out. It further highlighted that on October 6, the Election Commission of India announced assembly election schedules of five states without framing any guidelines in the spirit of the Constitution Bench’s decision.

According to the petitioner, it cannot probably be presumed that the electorates of India are deliberately choosing those who are suspected criminals to be their legislative representatives, it could only be that true information of their backgrounds was not revealed.

On September 25, the top court refused to disqualify candidates facing criminal charges from contesting elections and asked Parliament to enact a law instead.

While hearing a batch of petitions seeking disqualification of candidates with criminal cases pending against them from contesting polls, a five-judge bench headed by former Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said Parliament must ensure that people with serious criminal charges do not enter politics.

The apex court said that candidates and political leaders with criminal cases pending against them, have to inform their respective political parties about their criminal records. It also asked the political parties to display the criminal records of its leaders on its website.

The top court also directed that each candidate has to fill up the Election Commission form and declare whether any criminal case is pending against them.