New Delhi : The Supreme Court recently said that any holding back by an elected representative of information on the criminal antecedents and educational qualifications including their assets and liabilities, the spouse and dependent children at the time of filing nomination papers would result in their unseating.
IN case of suppression of information or misinformation, the Court would set up an inquiry commission
A bench of Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar (since retired) and Justice AK Sikri said that at the time of filing the nomination paper, if a candidate leaves blank any column seeking information on criminal antecedents, educational qualifications and assets and liabilities, it would result in rejection by the returning officer at the scrutiny stage itself.
But if there is suppression of information or misinformation, it would be decided by a detailed inquiry in an election petition by the court.
When there is a suppression of information or filing of incorrect information, it might not be possible for the returning officer to hold a “detailed examination” of the same at the time of scrutinising the nomination papers and “summary inquiry may not suffice”.
“When the information is given by a candidate in the affidavit filed along with the nomination paper and objections are raised thereto questioning the correctness of the information or alleging that there is non-disclosure of certain important information, it may not be possible for the returning officer at that time to conduct a detailed examination,” the court said. In such a situation, a “summary inquiry (by the Returning officer) may not suffice”, it said.
Upon a detailed inquiry, “once it is found that it was a case of improper acceptance, as there was misinformation or suppression of material information, one can state that question of rejection (of nomination papers) in such a case was only deferred to a later date”.