Thursday, May 16, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Amend nomination forms, EC tells govt
Move to keep corrupt, criminals out of politics
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 15
In a significant move to educate voters and deter the corrupt and criminals from entering the poll fray, the Election Commission has urged the government to amend the nomination papers for candidates contesting parliamentary and state legislative elections to include their assets, educational and criminal background.

As a follow up to the landmark judgement aimed at cleansing politics, the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr J.M. Lyngdoh wrote a letter yesterday to Law Minister Arun Jaitley requesting him to amend form 2A to 2E appended to the Conduct of Election Rules 1961 and notify the same at the earliest through an executive order, commission sources said here today.

The letter to the Law Minister followed a threadbare discussion and examination of the apex court directive by the three-member Election Commission, which felt that the “backing of the statute” was essential instead of the commission itself calling for affidavits from the candidates as directed by the Supreme Court, the sources said.

The Supreme Court had directed the Election Commission to call for information on affidavit by issuing necessary order in exercise of its power under Article 324 of the Constitution.

Election Commission officials feel that the amendment in the forms would make it mandatory on the part of the candidates to furnish details about their assets, criminal antecedents, etc and any candidate refusing to comply will automatically be rejected on the ground of incomplete nomination. However, in case a separate affidavits are called for then if a candidate does not comply with it, it would be difficult for the commission to reject his or her nomination as per the provisions of RP Act 1951 and their would also be scope for lot of litigations.

The amendment would require changes in nomination forms 2-A pertaining to the Lok Sabha, 2-B (state Assembly), 2-C (Rajya Sabha), 2-D (Legislative Councils) and 2-E (Council Constituencies of Legislative Councils).

The court had stipulated two months’ time to the commission to carry out and give effect to its directions, which ends on July 1.

“The commission hopes the Centre will accede to our request and notify the same by July 1,” said a senior commission official.

The Supreme Court had directed that the candidates would be required to give details on five counts : —

“1. Whether the candidate is convicted or acquitted or discharged of any criminal offence in the past — if any, whether he is punished with imprisonment or fine?

2. Prior to six months of filing of nomination, whether the candidate is accused in any pending case, of any offence punishable with imprisonment for two yeas or more, and in which charge is framed or cognisance is taken by the Court of Law, if so details there of;

3. The assets (immovable, movable, bank balances etc.) of a candidate and of his/her spouse and that of dependants;

4. Liabilities, if any, particularly whether there are any overdues of any public financial institution or Government dues.

5. The educational qualifications of the candidate.”

They said while the details on means to disseminate the information given in the nomination papers to electorate were yet to be worked out, it was proposed to use the electronic media for the purpose.

While the amended rules would not be applicable to the coming Assembly poll in Goa, once amended the commission would write to the Jammu and Kashmir Government to make necessary changes in the state rules in time for the Assembly poll, the sources added. 

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