The Election Commission (EC) has told the
Supreme Court that it has taken measures to curb criminalization of politics. Criminalization
of politics means the rising participation of criminals and people facing
criminal charges in politics.
EC’s response in Supreme Court comes in the
backdrop of a contempt plea which was recently filed alleging that the SC’s
directions in 2018 judgement had not been carried out by the EC in letter and
In 2018, the Supreme Court in the Public
Interest Foundation & Others vs. Union of India case had issued a number of
directions such as a) while filling the nomination forms, candidates must
declare their criminal past and the cases pending against them in bold letters,
b) Political parties to be responsible for putting up details of criminal cases
filed against their candidates on their websites, c) Candidate and the
concerned political party will have to issue a declaration in widely circulated
newspapers in the locality and in electronic media about his or her criminal
The court also said that the Parliament should bring
a law to ensure that candidates with criminal antecedents do not enter public
life or become lawmakers. The court observed that it cannot add to the grounds
of disqualification beyond Article 102(a) to (d) and the law made by the
Parliament under Article 102(e).
The Election Commission has said to the SC that it
had amended Form 26 and information regarding the same has been provided to
Chief Electoral Offices of all states and UTs as well as all recognized national
and state political parties.
Form 26 is the affidavit a candidate has to file
along with his nomination paper. Failure to furnish this information,
concealment of information or giving of false information is an offence under
Section125A of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. The amended Form 26 asks for information
regarding all criminal cases, including FIRs, pending against a candidate.