Kohima, February 3 (MTNews): With the direction of Election Commission of India, the Chief Electoral Officer, Nagaland, V Shashank Shekhar IAS has appraised that political parties setting up candidates with criminal cases are to upload details on their website information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases (including the nature of the offences, and relevant particulars such as whether charges have been framed, the concerned court, the case number etc) who have been selected as candidates, along with reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.
The reasons as to selection shall be with reference to the qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned, and not mere “winnability” at the polls.
The Commission also directed the political parties that this information shall also be published in one local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper and on the official social media platforms of the political party, including Facebook and Twitter.
These details, according to the commission, shall be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate and not prior to two weeks before the first date of filing of nominations. The political party concerned shall then submit a report of compliance with these directions with the Election Commission within 72 hours of the selection of the said candidate.
If a political party fails to submit such a compliance report with the Election Commission, the Election Commission shall bring such non-compliance by the political party concerned to the notice of the Supreme Court as being in contempt of the court’s orders/directions, dated 6th March, it said.
The directions which are concerned with the political parties have been asked to publish information regarding criminal antecedents of candidates on the homepage of their websites, thus making it easier for the voter to get the information that has to be supplied. It will also become necessary now to have on the homepage a caption with “candidates with criminal antecedents,” it also said.
Further, it reiterated that if such a political party fails to submit such a compliance report with the ECI, the ECI shall bring such noncompliance by the political party to the notice of this court as being in contempt of this Court’s Orders/directions, which shall in future be viewed very seriously.