With only a day left to publish the criminal past of candidates contesting election, hardly any contestant has done it in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court. A step taken for the first time after intervention of Supreme Court seems to have failed at the very beginning. The apex court had directed the election commission to ensure that criminal antecedents of politicians contesting elections should be highlighted through television and newspapers.
After Supreme Court guidelines, the election commission had issued instructions that all contestants having criminal cases should submit details of cases on affidavit along with their nomination papers. They should also publish the details of their crime record in newspaper and air it on TV between November 15 and 26.
“The duty of election commission is to ensure that instructions of Supreme Court should be followed and we have ensured that they are being followed,” said deputy CEO, Rajesh Kushre. He refused to comment further on the issue. However, officials in election commission admit, off the record, that they haven’t seen any information provided by the contestant in any prominent newspaper till date. They also said even on TV the information is being aired in a way that doesn’t serve the purpose.
After SC’s instructions, the election commission came out with clear instructions stating that criminal records should be published in a widely circulated newspaper in bold font with size not less than 12. “Till date I haven’t seen any such information being published in the newspapers that I read. I go through 4 newspapers daily. They are among the most circulated newspapers,” said Professor Sadhna Pandey.
“This is for the first time that such a clause has been included in the election process. There might be some shortcomings in the implementation as it might turn into a game of cat and mouse between the law enforcers and law breakers,” said Prashant Dubey of ADR (Association for Democratic Reforms).
Electoral reforms are a long term process. When filing of income details was introduced for the first time, it didn’t have much impact but now the results have started coming in. Similarly the introduction of publishing of criminal records may not have an immediate impact but it will definitely show its result in the coming days, added Dubey.