The Supreme Court on Thursday said that winnability could not be the only reason to select a candidate with criminal background in elections. The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and Ravindra Bhat directed all political parties to publish the details of the criminal background of their candidates in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls within 48 hours of their selection or within two weeks of nomination, whichever is earlier.
According to the Livelaw website, political parties must publish this information in local newspapers, upload on their official websites and share using their official social media handles of the parties. The nature of the crime and the stage of trial and investigation should be clearly stated in the said information.
The top court also directed the political parties to submit the compliance report before the Election Commission as well.
Last year, the Supreme Court had asked all candidates to publish the list of crimes pending against them. However, the Election Commission informed during the hearing that the court order was having no impact and political parties must be directed to not give tickets to candidates with a criminal background.
It remains to be seen if the latest order by the Supreme Court will yield any results in cleaning up Indian politics.
According to the Association of Democratic Reforms, 43% of Indian MPs in the lower house of the parliament have a criminal background. Of them, the ruling BJP has 116 MPs or 39% of its winning candidates with criminal cases, followed by 29 MPs (57%) from the Congress.