The election commission had in May last year told a parliamentary committee that electoral bonds introduced by the government is a ‘retrograde’ step. Photo: Mint

Election Commission welcomes apex court order on candidates with criminal record


NEW DELHI: A day after the apex court gave a key judgment on electoral candidates with criminal records, Election Commission (EC) on Friday welcomed the order “whole heartedly" and said it will make relevant modifications to implement the directives.

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday directed that political parties fielding candidates with criminal records must tell the public why they had chosen them over those with clean records along with detailed information about candidates with criminal cases pending against them, including the nature of the offences.

“Election Commission whole-heartedly welcomes this landmark order, which is bound to go a long way in setting new moral yardsticks for overall betterment of electoral democracy," a release by the poll watchdog read adding that it has “consistently espoused rigorous and loftiest normative standards in public life."

In its order, the SC has largely laid the onus on political parties for publicizing the information but gave the EC the responsibility of flagging non-compliance to the apex court as contempt of its directions.

In the statement released on Friday, the EC added on the lines of the earlier judgement in 2018, it will make suitable modifications as per apex court’s order.

“Earlier, Commission on 10 October 2018 issued detailed instructions and guidelines along with amended form of affidavit for ensuring publicity of criminal antecedents by the candidates and the concerned political parties for the information of voters," the EC said in its statement adding that this was being implemented in all elections since November, 2018.