SC penalises 8 political parties for contempt, says criminal records of candidates must be disclosed within 48 hours of selection

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Updated: August 10, 2021 4:24 PM

The Supreme Court imposed fine of Rs 5 lakh each on NCP and CPI(M), and Rs 1 lakh each on BJP, Congress, Janata Dal, RJD, CPI and LJP.  

supreme courtThe top court had said that now that the Centre has approved OBC reservation in medical seats when it will conduct the counselling

In a major move towards decriminalisation of politics, the Supreme Court on Tuesday held eight political parties, including the BJP and Congress, guilty of contempt for not making public criminal records of their poll candidates, reported Bar and Bench.

The top court imposed fine of Rs 5 lakh each on National Communist Party (NCP) and CPI(M) for not following the order in last year’s Bihar assembly polls, and Rs 1 lakh each on BJP, Congress, Janata Dal, RJD, CPI and LJP.

The action came soon after the bench directed political parties to make public criminal records of their poll candidates within 48 hours of their selection. 

Earlier in February this year, the top court had said that candidates must either upload their details on public domain within 48 hours of their selection or maximum two weeks before the first date of filing nomination papers, whichever is earlier. 

The Supreme Court made changes in Paragraph 4.4 of its February 2020 judgment and specified the deadline of 48 hours to declare criminal record of candidates. 

The court’s direction came on a petition seeking suspension of symbol of political parties that do not disclose criminal backgrounds of their poll candidates. The petitions have alleged failure to publish criminal antecedents of candidates in the Bihar Assembly elections held in November 2020.

In its February verdict, the Supreme Court had said that all political parties must explain why they chose candidates with criminal cases and also asked them to make public the records of candidates on their websites along with the reason why they chose the candidates. It had also directed the parties to publish this information in newspapers.

Following the Supreme Court’s order, the Election Commission had asked parties to publish the details along with criminal records of poll candidates in the newspapers. The poll body had also assured the top court it will suspend the symbols of parties in line with the orders.

The National Communist Party (NCP) and CPI(M) had issued an unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for not disclosing the criminal antecedents of their candidates during the Bihar assembly polls.

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