EC has vast powers to act against the criminalisation of politics
#GS3 #ELECTION COMMISSION
Recently Legal and political experts stated that the election commission (EC) could do more to prevent the criminalisation of politics.
The Supreme Court (in February 2020) directed political parties to publish the criminal antecedents of their candidates in widely circulated newspapers.
The court had ordered parties to publish on their websites the explanations for choosing such candidates and why those without a record weren't found better-suited to contest the elections.
The EC had not brought it to the Supreme Court’s notice that parties had not complied with the order.
Some more important components:
According to the experts the committee (EC) had “vast powers”, including under Article 324 of the Constitution.
It has the facility to mention that persons accused of crimes cannot represent elections.
EC should and may issue show-cause notices to the political parties if it finds the explanations they provide for choosing a candidate with criminal antecedents “not in consonance with the intent or purport” of the SC’s order.
However, consistent with the previous Chief election commissioner, the EC had no locus standi to enter the political process intrinsically .
The investigation and trial of cases should be expedited and there should be an attempt to disseminate information to voters.
Election Commission of India:
Article 324 to 329 of the constitution deals with powers, function, tenure, eligibility, etc of the commission and also the member.
Article 324: The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and also the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of each State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution shall be vested during a Commission (referred to during this Constitution because the Election Commission).
Article 324(2): The committee shall contains the Chief Election Commissioner and also the such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, because the President may from time to time fix and therefore the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made therein behalf by Parliament, be made by the President.
Article 324(3): When the other election commissioner is so appointed the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Election Commission.
Article 324(4): The President can also appoint after consultation with the election commission such Regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to help the election commission within the performance of the functions conferred on the Commission by clause (1).
Attempts of Judiciary to the decriminalisation of politics:
Association for Democratic Reforms(ADR) v. Union of Indian: A 2002 judgement of the SC made it obligatory for all candidates to file an affidavit before the official , disclosing criminal cases pending against them.
PUCL v. Union of India: In its 2013 judgement SC upheld the constitutional right of citizens to cast a negative choose elections.
The famous order to introduce None of the above (NOTA) was intended to form political parties think before giving tickets to the contaminated .
Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2013): The Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act that allowed convicted lawmakers a three-month period for filing appeals to the upper court and to urge a stay the conviction and sentence.
Public Interest Foundation and Ors. v Union of India (2014): In its landmark judgment of SC directed all subordinate courts to make a decision on cases involving legislators within a year, or give reasons for not doing so to the judge of the supreme court .
Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India(2018): The court ordered political parties to publish the criminal details of their candidates in their respective websites and print also as electronic media for public awareness.
The court held that there's a scarcity of data about tainted candidates among the citizenry.
The recent judgment was supported a contempt petition filed about the overall disregard shown by political parties to the present 2018 Constitution Bench judgment.