Stricter Poll panel norms on election affidavits; now each page to be notorized
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Stricter Poll panel norms on election affidavits; now each page to be notorized

The move follows a rise in cases filed against winning poll candidates, seeking their disqualification from membership of a house on the ground of filing wrong information in their election affidavits, in various states.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2017 18:17 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, Patna
Poll panel,Stricter norms,Notorized poll affidavit
The Election Commission of India office in New Delhi. (Mint file photo)

The election commission has made it mandatory for candidates to get each page of their election affidavit notorized, that is, get attested by notary public. The EC expects the move to facilitate more authenticity in the declarations made by candidates about their personal profile.

At present, candidates are required to notarize only a few pages of the affidavits, regarding their age, educational qualification and assets.

Sources said the move comes following a rise in cases filed by political leaders against their rivals, seeking disqualification of their membership on ground of filing wrong information in election affidavits during elections in various states, including Bihar.

A few such cases have gone to court, following dispute over the genuineness of the information contained in affidavits, especially on the pages that are not notorized.

“Candidates facing the charge of filing wrong information often claim their election affidavits have been tampered with. This is why, EC has now directed that all pages of affidavits have to be notorized,” said an election officer.

The EC’s move is also said to be a fall out of the recent petition filed with the poll panel by Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi against former health minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s elder son, Tej Pratap Yadav.

Modi has claimed in his complaint that Yadav had concealed information about his property in his election affidavit filed ahead of the November 2015 Bihar assembly poll.

Modi, who has made a series of exposes about the allegedly unexplained wealth of RJD chief and his sons, had approached the poll panel in July, seeking Yadav’s disqualification from membership of the state assembly.

To back his demand, Modi had argued that the former health minister was liable for action under the provisions of the Representation of People act as he had not revealed his properties in Aurangabad worth several lakhs, in his election affidavit.

However, the election commission in had asked Modi to file a petition against the Tej Pratap, a sitting MLA from Mahua in Vaisali district, in the competent court, observing that the poll panel was not empowered to take action in such matters on its own.

Sources said disqualification from membership of a house by the poll panel was admissible under clauses like, if a candidate after winning an election is found to be below 25 years of age (in case of assembly), not an Indian citizenship or mentally unstable.

“As per the advice of the election commission , a case has been filed in the CJM’s court in Patna against Tej Pratap for filing a false declaration by concealing his properties”, said Modi, when reached for his comments.

BJP leader Surajnandan Kushwaha had filed the case under section 125 (A) of the Representation of People Act which stipulates that anybody giving false information in the affidavit was liable for fine or imprisonment.

The poll panel move to get every page of affidavit notorized is likely to make candidates more careful about giving information in declarations, knowing well that any slip up could land them in trouble.

Sources said the new directive would be effective in coming polls including the by-election for the Araria parliamentary constituency, which has become due after the demise of sitting MP Mohammed Taslimuddin.

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 18:17 IST