Bihar poll: SC notice to CEC, politicians on contempt plea

Bihar poll: SC notice to CEC, politicians on contempt plea

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 14

The Supreme Court has issued notices to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and leaders of various political parties on a contempt petition highlighting their alleged failure to publish criminal antecedents of candidates, as ordered by the court, during the November 2020 Bihar Assembly elections.

A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman asked the CEC, Bihar, Chief Electoral Officer (HR) Srinivas, BJP organising secretary BL Santosh, JDU general secretary KC Tyagi, Bihar RJD president, Jagdanand Singh, LJP’s Abdul Khalik and Congress leader RS Surjewala.

The top court, however, dispensed with the personal appearance of the contemnors. It posted the matter for further hearing on March 9.

Taking note of alarming rise in the number of tainted lawmakers, the SC, on February 13 last year, ordered political parties to upload details of pending criminal cases against their candidates and the reasons for their selection. These details were required to be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate or at least two weeks before the commencement of filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.

Petitioner Brajesh Singh alleged the top court’s order was not followed as criminal antecedents of candidates were not published by political parties.

In its February 13, 2020, order, a Bench led by Justice Nariman had directed parties to publish such details on their official social media platforms and one local vernacular and one national newspaper. It had also asked political parties to give reasons for selecting candidates having pending criminal cases with reference to their qualification, achievements and not merely on “winnability”.

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