SC issues notices to EC, Centre on candidates' affidavits

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New Delhi, Apr 15 (UNI) The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Election Commission of India (EC) and the Central Government on a petition seeking direction to the returning officers to reject the nomination papers of candidates who leave the information column blank.

Mr Prashant Bhushan, counsel for the petitioner organisation, Resurgent India contended before the apex court that the petitioner examined 388 affidavits of candidates from the recently concluded Punjab assembly elections and found 369 of them had left the column asking for personal information from the candidates blank.

In a judgement in 2000 the Supreme Court had made mandatory for a candidate contesting elections to give hisher educational qualifications, details of personal assets and details of criminal antecedents if any. Following the direction of the Supreme Court, the EC changed the format of nomination papers and included the column seeking these informations.

A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice RV Raveendran issued the notices returnable within four weeks after hearing Mr Bhushan who also contended that tainted candidates can be kept out of the election fray only on the basis of personal information and it is the only way to check the criminals from entering Parliament and state Assemblies.

Candidate giving wrong information in the affidavit can be prosecuted for misleading the returning officer but the candidates with dubious background have devised this novel way of concealing their antecedents and also avoid prosecution.

UNI XC SZ RN1655

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