On a day it moved for a review of the judgments on barring jailed and convicted MPs and MLAs from contesting polls,the Centre was questioned by the Supreme Court as to why nomination papers of candidates,who fail to disclose their criminal antecedents and assets,should not be rejected.
Hearing a PIL filed in 2008 by civil rights group Resurgence India,a Bench of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and Ranjana P Desai asked the Centre to justify its opposition to the Election Commissions views that the nomination paper of a candidate,who provides incomplete information by leaving columns on criminal antecedents and assets blank,should be discarded.
Advocate Meenakshi Arora,appearing for the EC,told the court that it was supporting the petitioners contention that the Returning Officer should be empowered to reject incomplete nomination papers. She added that the EC had issued instructions not to leave any column blank after acknowledging that some candidates deliberately chose not to write anything against the columns pertaining to disclosing pending criminal cases against them and their assets.
The Centres counsel opposed the ECs stand,saying a candidates eligibility did not hinge on his not furnishing such information or wrongly furnishing it.
Unimpressed with the arguments,the Bench said: Why will anyone leave it blank? You could say nil or not applicable but it cannot be left blank…it is for the Election Commission to take a final view and they have filed their counter affidavit saying they want us to pass some directions. Union of India has not filed any affidavit. Why will you now raise all these averments now?
The court adjourned the matter for Tuesday.