Voters must know criminal past of candidates: SC

Voters must know criminal past of candidates: SC
Supreme Court
NEW DELHI, AUG 28 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 8/28/2018 10:33:48 AM IST

Supreme Court on Tuesday favoured “proper” dissemination of information about criminal antecedents, if any, of the candidates being fielded by the political parties to contest elections to Parliament or state assemblies, so that voters can make a informed choice while exercising their franchise.

“Right to information (about the criminal antecedents of the candidates) means right to proper information,” said Chief Justice Dipak Misra, heading the five-judge constitution bench as it reserved its verdict on a plea by NGO Public Interest Foundation seeking to bar people from electoral politics against whom charges have been framed by trial courts for heinous offences.

“We can’t make a law or do indirectly what we can’t do directly. We will only see if we can do anything on disclosure (of criminal antecedents). We will see if we can add to the disclosure so that people make a well-informed choice at polling booth. Let people judge,” said Chief Justice Misra.

Making it clear that they would not issue any direction to the Centre for enacting a law to bar from the electoral arena the people charged with heinous crimes, the constitution bench said that the focus should be on the dissemination of information about the criminal antecedents of the candidates enabling voters to make an informed choice.

The court said this as Attorney General K.K. Venugopal reiterated the Central government’s position that law making was within the exclusive domain of the legislature and “what court can’t do directly (asking legislature to enact a law), it can’t do indirectly.”

Summing up the submission by the AG, Justice Nariman said that according to AG, the court cannot add or subtract any new qualification or disqualification to what is already contemplated in the Constitution or the statute (Representation of People Act).


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