On electoral reforms, the one lesson, India must learn from Pakistan
The Supreme Court of Pakistan had penalised Nawaz Sharif and asked him to step down as Prime Minister. It observed that he had made a false declaration of assets in his assets while filing its nomination. This was one of the major grounds the SC relied on while directing Sharif's disqualification.
In India, any leader would have got away with a soft punishment had he or she made a false declaration in the affidavit. In India there is no clear provision that attracts disqualification of a candidate who files false information in his or her affidavit.
The Supreme Court of India had in 2013 observed that those who conceal information in their nomination papers should be barred from contesting elections. The EC hoewever has no powers to reject such nominations.
The EC had proposed that the punishment for concealing information should attract maximum punishment. It had suggested a two years sentence without an alternate clause of a fine. The EC had also sought that filing of a false affidavit be made a ground to reject the nomination papers. This suggestion has not yet seen the light of the day and has been pending for over 10 years now.
In the Indian law there is no provision to bar a candidate from contesting an election who has been convicted from filing a false affidavit. Under Section 8 (3), a candidate filing a false affidavit will be sentenced to six months in jail if found guilty. The law says that the person is barred from contesting an election only during the jail term.