EC amends rules, now candidates to publicise details of criminal cases against them

The Pioneer

The Election Commission on Wednesday wrote to the States and Union Territories informing them about the issuance of a new format of affidavit for contesting candidates and political parties in poll-bound States, pertaining to details of criminal cases or cases of past conviction. The EC directed the political parties to publicise the details of contesting candidates on their websites as well as news channels and newspapers. Both the candidate and parties have been mandated to publish this information in newspapers and TV at least three times after nomination papers are filed. The Commission made it clear to political parties that the publishing should be completed before the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll for the election. The Form 26 will contain a table recording full details of his/her criminal antecedents. The same table can be reproduced as an insertion in advertisements to be put out by candidates in print and electronic media at least thrice after filing of nominations, as ordered by the Supreme Court on September 25. The Form 26 will also contain format C-1 and C-2. The Format C-1 will contain the name of the candidate; name of political party; name of constituency and number of pending criminal cases and details about cases of conviction. The Format C-2 will contain declaration about criminal antecedents of candidates set up by the party. "All such political parties shall submit a report to the Chief Electoral Officer of the State concerned stating that they have fulfilled the requirements of these directions, and enclosing therewith the paper cuttings containing the declarations published by the party in respect of the State/UT concerned. All elections are required to file affidavit in Form-26, along, with nomination paper, declaring information about criminal cases, assets, liabilities and educational qualifications," the EC said. The Commission has asked chief electoral officers to provide the new format '"Form 26" to all political parties in their states and union territories. According to EC's directions, contesting candidate who have criminal cases against them - either pending cases or cases in which candidate has been convicted, shall publish a declaration about such cases, for wide publicity, in newspapers as well as TV channel and on their websites.