Providing wrong information may soon be grounds for disqualification of a person from contesting state assembly or Parliament elections.
The Election Commission of India has sought powers from the government to disqualify persons who provide wrong or false information in their affidavits on criminal record and assets at the timing of filing nomination papers.
Under Representation of People’s Act, the EC does not have powers to disqualify a candidate on this ground and at most it can ask the local police to register a case against the person.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) had sent a petition to the Supreme Court which resulted in the EC making filing of affidavits mandatory for candidates. “The Constitution provides for disqualification of candidates on this ground,” Anil Bairwal, national coordinator for the association told HT.
Electoral law does not take into account this constitutional provision fully. This had resulted in at least 10 persons getting elected after concealing information regarding their convictions in criminal cases in the affidavits filed at the time of submitting nomination papers.
Acting on ADR’s suggestion, the commission has now suggested changes in Representation of People’s Act enabling the election returning officers to disqualify a person from contesting polls.
“False information or suppression of material information... has to be viewed as serious offence in context of election,” EC secretary KF Wilfred said.