Dated: 16th September, 2020
The Chief Electoral Officers of
all States and Union Territories.
Sub: Supreme Court’s Judgment on the petition regarding requirement of publishing details regarding people with criminal antecedents contesting elections;
I am directed to invite your attention to the Commission’s letter No. 3/4/2017/SDR/Vol. II dated 10.10.2018, and letter dated 19.03.2019,issued in pursuance of the Judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in WP(C) No. 784 of 2015 (Lok Prahari Vs. UoI &Ors) and WP(C) NO. 536 of 2011 (Public Interest Foundation & Ors. Vs. UoI and Anr.). In the said letters the Commission has directed that the candidates who have criminal cases against them, either pending cases or cases of conviction in the past, and the political parties that set up such candidates, shall publish declaration in newspapers and TV Channels in the manner prescribed in the letters referred to above.
2. Subsequently, in pursuance of the directions given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its Order dated 13.02.2020 passed in Contempt Petition(C ) No. 2192 of 2018 in WP(C) NO. 536 of 2011 and in addition to the directions in the Commission’s above said two letters, the Commission vide letter No. 3/4/2020/SDR/Vol.III dated 6th March 2020, has also directed that all political parties, that set up candidates with criminal antecedents, either pending cases or cases of past conviction, shall scrupulously follow each of the above directions in all future elections to the Houses of Parliament and State Legislatures. Information regarding individuals with criminal cases, who have been selected as candidates, along with the reasons for selection of such candidates, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates, shall be published by the political party in the newspapers, social media platform and website of the party within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate or not less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.
3. The Commission has also considered the issues relating to the publicity by the uncontested returned candidates and directed that in view of above said directions of Hon’ble Supreme court such candidates must also publicize their criminal antecedents in the manner as prescribed for other contesting candidates..
4. As per the Commissions directions, the details regarding criminal cases are to be published on three occasions during the campaign period for the purposes of publishing of such details. Now, Commission has considered the matter and directed that the period specified will be decided with three blocks in following manner, so that electors have sufficient time to know about the background of such candidates:
a. Within first 4 days of withdrawal.
b. Between next 5th- 8thdays.
c. From 9th day till the last day of campaign (the second day prior to date of poll)
(Illustration: If the last date for withdrawal is 10th of the month and poll is on 24th of the Month, the first block for publishing of declaration shall be done between 11th and 14th of the Month, second and third blocks shall be between 15th and 18th and 19th and 22nd of that Month, respectively.)
5. The other directions in this regard as given in the Commission’s letters referred to in Para 1 & 2 above shall continue to be followed.
6. While filing the a/c of election expenses the details regarding publishing of instruction on criminal antecedents, if any, shall be provided in the prescribed format (Format C-4). In the case of election to Rajya Sabha or State legislative council, these details shall be submitted to the RO for the election.
7. It may again be stated here that as far as political parties are concerned, they will be bound to disclose details regarding candidates selected by them in terms of the above mentioned Hon’ble Supreme Court’s Order dated 13.02.2020, Communicated vide Commission’s letter No. 3/4/2020/SDR/Vol.III dated 6th March, 2020, even if their candidature is rejected during scrutiny and/or withdraws his candidature may be followed in this regard.
8. It may be reiterated that all the expenses incurred by the candidate and the political party in connection with the publication of the aforesaid criminal antecedent will be accounted for the purpose of election. In this regard, the Commission’s letter No 3/4/3029/SDR/Vol.-I dated 19th March 2019 may be referred to.
9. In order to streamline the existing Formats as prescribed by the Commission and in compliance of the Order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, Formats C1, C2, and C3 have been modified by adding suitable guidelines (copies enclosed).
10. This letter may be circulated to all DEOs/ROs in the State/Union Territory for necessary action on their part. This shall also be circulated to all the political parties based in the State i.e. the State Units of the recognized parities and recognized State parties of other States and all registered un-recognized political parties with head quarters based in your State/Union Territory, with instruction to take note of the above directions for strict compliance both by the parties and their candidates in all future elections.
11. Kindly acknowledge receipt and confirm action taken.