ADR seeks action against parties for failing to publish criminal antecedents of candidates fielded by them

New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI) An electoral reform advocacy group has urged the Election Commission to take action against political parties for failing to publish criminal antecedents of candidates fielded by them during assembly polls held in the past few years.

In a letter to the poll panel, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has noted that following the Supreme Court’s directions and subsequent guidelines issued by the Election Commission, it is mandatory for political parties at the central and state election level to upload on their websites detailed information regarding candidates with pending criminal cases, including the nature of the offences.

Political parties will also have to give reasons for such selections and why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.

“At the outset, this application is being filed before the commission against the wilful disobedience and violation of the mandatory directions of this Commission (EC) issued in the implementation of (the) Supreme Court’s directions dated September 25, 2018, and February 13, 2020…,” the letter dated June 19 read.

The ADR pointed out that the top court had reprimanded political parties for failing to publish the details of criminal cases pending against the candidates selected by them with reasons for the selection of such individuals.

Later, the apex court had penalised 10 political parties that contested the 2020 Bihar assembly elections for not complying with its orders.

“In this backdrop, ADR is seeking strict action to be initiated against the defaulting political parties which had contested (the) 2023 assembly elections held in Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Karnataka, (the) 2022 assembly elections held in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur and Punjab and (the) 2021 assembly elections held in the states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and (the) UT of Puducherry,” it said.

The group said the poll panel should immediately report such default to the Supreme Court during each election.

“The Commission should also consider imposing a fine for the said violation,” the letter said.