SC issues notice to Centre, EC on plea for contempt

Last Updated 29 March 2019, 06:44 IST

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Union government and the Election Commission on a plea for contempt action against the officials for failing to notify leading newspapers and TV channels where the candidates in elections were to publish the criminal cases pending against them.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman sought a response from the Centre and the EC's officials on an application filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The petitioner contended the 'Election Symbol Order & Model Code of Conduct' was not duly amended even after the apex court's directions on September 25, 2018.

"The EC has not published list of leading newspapers-news channels for publication of criminal antecedents.

ECI has not clarified the timing of publication," his petition stated.

"The candidates published criminal history in odd hours when people don’t watch news channels. Political parties had neither published the details on the website nor in newspapers-news channels during Assembly Elections, but, EC did nothing against them," it contended.

On March 10, the EC announced the dates of General Elections without amending the rules which was essential for compliance of the judgment, it stated, seeking contempt against EC top officials.

On September 25, 2018, a five-judge bench had ordered that if a candidate was contesting an election on the ticket of a particular party, he/she was required to inform the party about the criminal cases pending against him/her and the concerned political party shall be obligated to put up on its website information pertaining to candidates having criminal antecedents.

"The candidate as well as the concerned political party shall issue a declaration in the widely circulated newspapers in the locality about the antecedents of the candidate and also give wide publicity in the electronic media. When we say wide publicity, we mean that same shall be done at least thrice after filing of nomination papers," the court had ordered.

(Published 29 March 2019, 06:44 IST)

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