SC notice to Centre and EC for allegedly violating its order
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre and the EC on a plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings for alleged violation of the apex court's judgment directing all candidates to declare their criminal antecedents to the poll panel before contesting elections.
A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran also sought response from the three deputy election commissioners, law secretary and the cabinet secretary for not complying with its judgment dated September 25, 2018.
The court was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.
In September last year, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission(EC) before contesting polls and had called for wider publicity, through print and electronic media about the antecedents of candidates.
On October 10 last year, the EC had issued notification regarding the amended Form-26, and directions to political parties and candidates for publication of criminal antecedents.
However, the plea filed by Upadhyay had alleged that the EC neither amended the Election Symbol Order, 1968 nor the model code of conduct (MCC) so the said notification has no legal sanction.
"On October 10, 2018, the ECI issued direction to political parties and candidates for publication of criminal antecedents without amending the Election Symbol Order & Model Code of Conduct so the direction has no legal sanction," the plea had said.
It had also said that the ECI did not publish a list of leading newspapers-news channels nor clarified the timing for declaration of criminal antecedents by candidates which led to the candidates publishing them in unpopular newspapers and news channels during odd hours.
"It (the ECI) had not published list of leading newspapers-news channels, so candidates published criminal antecedents in unpopular newspapers-news channels. The ECI has not clarified the timing of publication, so candidates published criminal history in odd hours when people don't watch news channels. Political parties had neither published the details on website nor in newspapers or news channels during assembly elections, but the ECI did nothing against them," the plea had alleged. "On March 10, the ECI announced the dates of General Election without amending the Election Symbol Order & Model Code of Conduct, which is essential for compliance of Judgment dated 25.9.2018 hence petitioner is filing the contempt petition," it had said.