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Delete names of criminals from rolls
EC directive to Bihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 5
In a significant order aimed at debarring criminals from contesting elections in Bihar, the Election Commission today directed the state government to delete from the electoral rolls the names of those persons against whom, non-bailable warrants (NBWs) could not be executed for more than six months.

“The commission has decided that the names of all those persons against whom NBWs could not be executed for more than six months, which would mean that those persons are not ordinarily residents at least for the last six months at their given addresses, should be deleted by the EROs concerned by taking suo motu action under Section 22 of the RP Act 1950”, the EC said in a statement today.

The decision to delete the names of these persons was taken at a meeting comprising B B Tandon, Chief Election Commissioner, and N. Gopalaswami, Election Commissioner.

The poll panel directed the Bihar government to furnish the list of persons by August 19 and the Electoral Registration Officer have to complete the process of deletion of names by September 19.

The EC took decision to prevent absconders from contesting the election and plug the loophole in the Patna High Court directive. The court had asked the police authorities to arrest such proclaimed offender/absconder who turns up for filing his nomination. Following this directive, several absconders evaded arrest by getting their nomination papers filed through their proposers.

The poll panel issued the new orders concerned over the large number of unexecuted non-bailable warrants and low recovery of illegal arms and ammunition in poll-bound Bihar. The commission had earlier directed the state administration to step up efforts in this regard. It had noted that as on July 14, as many as 23,616 non-bailable warrants remained pending for execution.

Under Section 22 of the RP Act, the name of a person who has ceased to be ordinarily resident in the constituency could be deleted by the ERO at any time before the last date for the nomination of candidates from the constituency, the EC said.

This deletion of name could be done by the ERO even suo motu, after giving a reasonable opportunity to the person concerned of being heard in respect of the action proposed to be taken in relation to him, it said.

Observing that the entire matter has been carefully examined by the commission, it said one of the essential qualifications for contesting an election to Parliament or state legislature was that the person aspiring to be a candidate must be registered as an elector in a constituency.

“A person who is absent from his given address for long periods and is not available to, or traceable by, the police authorities and the agencies entrusted with the task of executing NBW against him can, as a logical consequence, be presumed to be not ordinarily resident at that address”, it said, adding in such a case, the person concerned could not validly claim that his name should continue to be registered in the electoral roll at the mentioned address.

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