The Election Commission of India has modified the format of the affidavit that every contesting candidate has to file with the Election Authorities at the time of filing nomination for elections to Parliament or State Assemblies. The format prescribes detailed information on educational qualifications, ownership of movable and immovable properties, liabilities and criminal background, if any.
This was informed in a press release issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, Nagaland, J. Alam IAS on March 23.
According to official bulletin, the commission had issued directions in 2003 for collecting the information about the candidates in affidavit, which was done with a view to maintain purity of elections and to enhance transparency of the election process as also in accordance with the Supreme courts direction stipulating that “in a democracy, the electoral process has a strategic role and the little man of this country would have basic elementary right to know full particulars of the candidate who is to represent him in parliament/state assembly where laws to bind his liberty and property may be enacted”.
The latest modifications require the candidates to give more detailed information about the properties owned by the candidate, his/her spouse and up to 3 (three) dependents.
Information such as details of bank deposits, investments in bonds/shares, cash in hand, ownership of vehicles and other transport and jewellery is to be given. For immovable property, details about ownership of agricultural and non-agricultural land and commercial and residential buildings are to be given.
It further hoped that with more detailed information the voters will be able to make a more informed choice and judgement about the candidates aspiring to represent the voters in their respective constituencies.