Will strictly observe Supreme Court ruling on decriminalisation of politics: CEC
The Supreme Court had said on September 25 that criminalisation of politics strikes at the very root of democracy by making the citizenry suffer at the hands of those “who are nothing but a liability” to the country.Updated: Oct 17, 2018 19:00 IST
Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat on Wednesday said that the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on decriminalisation of politics would be strictly observed and candidates have to clearly mention the stages of criminal cases against them in their affidavits.
The candidates’ affidavits would be immediately uploaded on the Election Commission’s website, the CEC told reporters while referring to the apex court order in September.
Mizoram and four other states are going to polls over the next two months. The CEC was in Mizoram with two Election Commissioners- Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa - and four senior officials to review the poll preparedness for the November 28 assembly election.
The Supreme Court had said on September 25 that criminalisation of politics strikes at the very root of democracy by making the citizenry suffer at the hands of those “who are nothing but a liability” to the country.
In a 100-page verdict, the court had left it to Parliament to make a law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter the political stream.
“The Election Commission would ensure strict observance of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on decriminalisation of politics and the candidates should clearly mention the stages of criminal cases against them in the affidavits which would be immediately uploaded in the election commission website,” Rawat said. In Mizoram, at least 80 flying squads would keep a close vigil on the candidates to ensure that no cash, liquor or drugs are used in the hustings and the expenditure monitoring would include utilisation of GPS to monitor movements of suspected parties, he said.
The EC team under CEC on Tuesday interacted with representatives of different political parties and also people from administration as well civil society as part of preparation for the one day voting to 40-member Mizoram assembly on November 28.
A close watch would be kept on bank accounts of candidates to detect suspicious transactions, the CEC said.
The CEC was not categorical on questions whether Bru voters in the relief camps would exercise franchise in Mizoram as committed by the Election Commission on April 7, 2014.
“Certain decisions have to be made in view of fresh developments after free ration and cash dole were stopped by the Centre in the relief camps,” Rawat said.
He said that the Election Commission has been assessing the situation closely.
The NGO Coordination Committee, a conglomeration of three major NGOs and two student bodies, had on Tuesday urged the EC to defranchise all the Bru voters who chose to stay back in Tripura and did not return to Mizoram.
Only 40 of the 5,407 Bru refugee families returned to Mizoram from the six refugee camps in Tripura during the stipulated one month of repatriation process that ended on September 30.
The CEC said that preparations for free, fair, peaceful and smooth polls to the 40-member Mizoram legislature on November 28 were on.
Arrangements were being made to ensure exercise of franchise by all, including persons with disabilities.
He said that the state government has been instructed to ensure availability of drinking water, toilet and electricity in all polling stations while ramps should also be made for persons with disabilities.
At least one polling station, manned only by women election and security officials, would be established, Rawat said.