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SC to pass order on contempt plea

SC to pass order on contempt plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce its order on Thursday on a contempt plea, which has raised the issue of criminalisation of politics and claimed that the directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict relating to disclosure of criminal antecedents by poll candidates were not being followed.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman, which on January 31 reserved its order on the plea, observed that the issue of penalising political parties or candidates for not disclosing criminal antecedents has to be dealt with carefully as serious allegations with "political overtones" are often being made against candidates.

In September 2018, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that all candidates will have to declare their criminal antecedents to the Election Commission before contesting polls and called for a wider publicity, through print and electronic media about antecedents of candidates.

It had left it to Parliament to "cure the malignancy" of criminalisation of politics by making a law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter the political arena as the "polluted stream of politics" needs to be cleansed.

During the hearing on the contempt plea, the EC had told the court that increase in number of MPs having pending criminal cases was "disturbing" and as per the statistics, there were 43 per cent MPs in Parliament who have criminal cases against them.

The poll panel had agreed with the suggestions of senior lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan, representing BJP leader and petitioner Ashiwini Upadhyay, including that all political parties should mandatorily upload on their website details of candidates with criminal antecedents along with the reasons as to why those without any criminal record could not be selected.

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