The Supreme Court on Thursday directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, noting that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics.
The apex court said political parties will also have to upload reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases on their website.
The court passed orders on a contempt plea which raised the issue of criminalisation of politics claiming that directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict relating to disclosure of criminal antecedents by candidates are not being followed.
A bench headed by Justice F Nariman also directed that political parties will publish these details on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.
The top court said political parties will have to submit a compliance report in this regard to the Election Commission within 72 hours of selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them.
It directed that the Election Commission shall bring it to the notice of the apex court in case of failure of political parties to comply with its directions.
While pronouncing the order, the bench said it appears that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in the last four general elections.
A study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-government organisation working on electoral reforms, had shown that nearly 43% of the members of the Lok Sabha face criminal charges. The study showed that a total of 462 more candidates contesting in Lok Sabha elections 2019 had declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to rape, murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, crimes against women, as compared to 2009. “Out of the 7,928 candidates analysed in Lok Sabha 2019, 1,500 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves,” the report had stated.
(With PTI inputs)