Monday, July 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India





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Parties discuss EC order today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 7
In view of the Election Commission (EC) having decided to implement the Supreme Court verdict of making it mandatory for all candidates to file an affidavit furnishing details of their criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities and educational qualification, the Centre has convened an all-party meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue.

The all-party meeting has been called as the government decided to seek the views of all parties before going ahead with implementing the directive. A large number of parties have also expressed their reservation over the ECís condition that failure to furnish details would lead to the disqualification of the candidates.

The Supreme Court had on May 2 last issued a directive to the EC to seek details about the criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities and educational qualification from all candidates contesting parliamentary and state assembly elections on an affidavit.

Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Law and Justice Minister Jana Krishnamurthi would represent the government at the meeting.

The parties feel that the Supreme Court, while asking the EC to formulate a guideline for furnishing of details by the candidates, had not directed that non-furnishing of such details would lead to their disqualification.

The government had pointed out several impractical notifications, saying that the returning officers would not have the expertise or mechanism to check the authenticity of information provided by the candidates.

The all-party meeting is also scheduled to discuss the controversial issue of setting up the National Judicial Commission (NJC) which would have the power to appoint Supreme Court and high court judges and transfer high court judges.

At present, a collegium of judges headed by the Chief Justice of India makes recommendations to the government regarding appointment of judges.

The meeting will discuss whether there was a requirement of legislative intervention on the issue, specially as there was a growing concern over criminalisation of politics.

The meeting would also discuss as to what shall be the modality and mechanism. Also, whether it requires legislative interference, if so, what type, to adhere to the Supreme Court judgement.
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