The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court that it had “earnestly and proactively taken various measures to ensure” that its judgment of September 25, 2018, asking the poll panel to take certain steps to deal with criminalisation of politics, is “complied with in its true letter and spirit”.
The court had, in the judgment, said that candidates must fill up forms provided by the Commission and state details of criminal cases pending against them. A candidate must inform the party about criminal cases against him/her; and the party must put this up on its official website, the court said.
A contempt plea was recently filed alleging that the top court’s directions had not been carried out in letter and spirit. The apex court had issued notice on it.
Responding to the notice, the EC stated in an affidavit that on October 10, 2018, it had written to chief electoral officers of all states and Union Territories, as well as to all recognised national and state political parties, that Form 26 had been amended in the context of the Supreme Court’s directions, and that candidates were required to file their affidavits in the amended format.
The amended Form 26 “categorically seems information regarding all criminal cases, including FIRs, pending against a candidate”, the EC’s affidavit stated.
The letter also contained instructions to carry out other directions of the court, including publicising the details of criminal cases against a candidate, the affidavit said.
The Commission stated that in subsequent communications, it had made it clear that “in case candidates or political parties do not publicise in the manner prescribed”, such failure may be a ground for post-election action such as election petition or contempt of court.