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India: An important step towards clearing politics of crime

Supreme Court's warning to Modi government

Ground Report | New Delhi: India: An important step; The Supreme Court has ordered all political parties to release their criminal records within 48 hours of the election of their candidates. It is being hailed as an important step towards clearing politics of crime in the country.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that all political parties must publish the criminal records of their successful candidates in the newspapers within 48 hours of the announcement of the election results. Details of the criminal record should be published in at least two newspapers and the Election Commission of India should be informed within 72 hours.

India: An important step

The Supreme Court has given a big direction to stop the criminalization of politics. The court said on August 10 that political parties will have to make public their criminal records within 48 hours of the election of their candidates. The Supreme Court has amended its own direction issued in February last year. A bench of Justice Rohington Fali Nariman and Justice BR Gavai gave new directions.

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On 13 February 2020, the Supreme Court had said that a candidate has to make his/her criminal record public within 48 hours of being selected or at least two weeks before the first date of filing of nominations. Now the court has reduced it to just 48 hours.

The court’s previous order had said that all political parties would have to explain why they selected candidates with criminal cases and put the candidate’s information and reason for selection on the website.

It may be recalled that the Yogi Adityanath government of Uttar Pradesh had withdrawn several cases against Yogi Adityanath after he became the Chief Minister. This included serious cases of spreading religious hatred between sects. The state government had also announced the withdrawal of cases against several other state ministers.

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Uploaded on govt website

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The Supreme Court was actually hearing a contempt of court case filed by a petitioner. The Supreme Court in a decision in February last year had said that the successful candidates in the November 2019 Bihar Assembly elections should submit all their details within 48 hours of the announcement of the election results or at least from the initial date of filing of nomination papers.

Must be uploaded on the government website within less than two weeks. The court had at the time said that if the political parties did not upload the details of the criminal background of their candidates, their ballot papers should be suspended. Political parties, however, did not feel the need to comply with the Supreme Court’s order, after which a petitioner filed a contempt of court case against them.

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