SC to hear contempt plea against EC officials

SC to hear contempt plea against EC officials

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a plea for seeking contempt action against the Election Commission's officials for allegedly failing to notify leading newspapers and TV channels where the candidates in elections were to publish the criminal cases pending against them.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna told petitioner-advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to hand over the copy of his petition to the Secretary of the poll panel. 

"This is to ensure due representation on March 14, the next date of hearing," the bench said. The court passed its order after taking the petition by Upadhyay on board, on a mentioning made by him.

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 a 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 were 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.