After Supreme Court’s guidelines Election Commission (EC) has come down tough on the contestants with criminal antecedents. ECI has changed the format of affidavit that mentions the criminal record of the contestant. Candidates and political parties giving tickets to persons with criminal past would have to publicise their records in widely circulated newspaper and TV channels at least three times seperately.
Political parties would also have to mention it on their websites besides publicising it on the TV channels and newspapers. The candidates shall submit the copies of newspapers in which their declaration in this regard was published to the district election officer, along with their account of election expenses, for record. The candidates are required to file affidavit in Form-26, along with nomination paper, declaring information about criminal cases, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications. The candidates are now required to file the affidavit in the amended Form-26.
They would have to mention cases of conviction in the past and current pending cases. The order presses that information about criminal cases is mentioned in bold letters in the format provided. The candidate would also be responsible to inform the political party about his criminal record. The affidavit would contain information on number of criminal cases, name of court, case number and status of case, sections of Acts concerned and brief description of offence- with reference to pending criminal cases and cases of conviction. Political parties too would have to sumbit information in the same format mentioning name of candidate and constituecny.
The candidate as well as the concerned political party shall issue a declaration in the ‘widely circulated newspapers’ in the locality about the antecedents of the candidate and also give wide publicity in the electronic media. ‘When we say wide publicity, we mean that the same shall be done at least thrice after filing of the nomination papers,’ said the orders issued by the ECI.
This declaration is to be published in Format C-1, at least on three different dates from the day following the last date for withdrawal of candidatures and upto two days before the date of poll. ‘The matter should be published in font size of at least 12 and should be placed suitably in the newspapers so that the directions for wide publicity are complied with in letter and spirit,’ reads the order.
It may also be noted that the provisions for the additional affidavit in respect of dues against government accommodation, if any, that may have been allotted to the candidates, have now been incorporated in Form-26 itself under Item (8) relating to liabilities to Public Financial Institutions and Govt. The candidates would also have to submit no dues certificate from the government, if one has been allotted a government accomodation, property tax, municipal tax or for any other government service including pending GST dues, if any.