Top Court declines PIL demanding bar on Politicians with serious criminal charges from contesting Polls

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain PIL seeking direction for Election Commission (EC) that political parties should not field candidates charged with serious offences, reported ANI.

The Plea also sought direction to withdraw symbol of a political party if it fields a candidate despite serious offences charged against him.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay may approach the Election Commission for the same. Upadhyay’s PIL comes months before the 2019 Lok
Sabha elections.

The Apex court in September last year had said it cannot usurp the power of law-making which is vested with the legislature. “Though criminalization of politics is a “bitter manifest truth”, which is a “termite” to the citadel of democracy, the court cannot make a law to check it,” a five-judge constitution bench headed by the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had said.

The bench had left it to Parliament to bring in a strong law by which it should be mandatory for political parties to revoke the membership of those against whom charges have been framed in heinous offenses.

Last year, the Poll body had in February submitted an affidavit in the Top Court asking to amend the law and put a bar on people with serious criminal Charges from Contesting elections.

The affidavit filed by the Election Commission also sought the power to de-register Political Parties and be authorized to issue necessary orders regulating and deregistration of parties.

The Poll body has always raised voice against the convicted person filing for election and demanded that they should be stopped from forming political parties. The EC’s response was filed by Vijay Kumar Pandey, director (law), to a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay asking why a convicted person, otherwise debarred from contesting polls, was allowed to form a political party.

The Poll Panel, stating that it first wrote to the Union Law Ministry in 1998, urged the necessity of giving it the power in view of the fact that many political parties get registered, but never contest an election.

As per current law, the lawmakers and candidates are barred under the Representation of Peoples Act from contesting elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.

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