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The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Election Commission of India to furnish within a week a framework to check criminalisation in politics in the national interest.

The direction was given by a bench of Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat after ECI submitted that the court’s order asking candidates contesting polls to declare their criminal antecedents in electronic and print media has not yielded results.

During the hearing of public interest litigation filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay, the election body submitted before the bench that political parties should not give tickets to candidates with criminal antecedents, instead of asking them to provide details in media.

The apex court said ECI and the petitioner should meet and provide suggestions for a framework in a week’s time.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court had in September 2018 left it to Parliament to “cure the malignancy” of criminalisation of politics by making a law to ensure that persons facing serious criminal cases do not enter the political arena as the “polluted stream of politics” needs to be cleansed.

The bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra had, however, refused to bar candidates facing criminal charges from contesting elections, saying that matter should be dealt with by Parliament, political parties and politicians.

The court had also laid down guidelines to curb corruption in politics and ensure that voters are able to make informed choices.

It had asked candidates to provide details about all criminal cases pending against them and said political parties should publish the criminal antecedents of contestants of their parties on their websites and widely circulate such information on other fora.

 

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