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Civic poll candidates’ details online: HC issues notice to SEC
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the State Election Commission in a plea seeking to publish details on website about candidates contesting in the local body polls.
A public interest litigation petition filed by Ramkumar Adityan came up for hearing before a Division Bench of Justices PN Prakash and Jayachandran. The petitioner stated that the Election Commission is an autonomous Constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes. As per directive of the Supreme Court, candidates contesting the polls must publish criminal history, if any, in their affidavit. The Supreme Court made it mandatory for all political parties to publish all details regarding pending criminal cases against their candidates in local newspapers and also on party websites.
Moreover, the affidavit of contestants should have necessary details of their value of tangible and intangible assets, investments, liabilities and educational qualifications. The Election Commission’s election affidavit issued ahead of the local body polls in 2019 was similar to affidavit issued ahead of the state Assembly elections in 2011.
Only after a public interest litigation was filed in 2019 seeking the State Election Commission to publish electoral rolls and nominations of contestants on website, the Election Commission followed it. However, it was not transparent as nominations filed by contestants were not published, just for some personal details about contestants. Moreover, most of these guidelines directed by the Supreme Court were not followed.
Citing these factors, the petitioner sought the bench to direct the State Election Commission to ensure all guidelines were followed strictly ahead of next local body polls.
After hearing the plea, the bench issued notice to the State Election Commission to respond and adjourned the case after four weeks.