Electoral Commission warns parties on criminal cases

Candidates with criminal histories and their political parties may be accused of contempt of the Supreme Court if they fail to make widely known the cases with which they are accused, as expected. They could also be penalized for making false statements, the Electoral Commission said.

Separate formats have been specified for candidates and parties to submit reports on the publication of the declaration. The fact that candidates and parties do not publish details in the prescribed manner may constitute a post-election reason for action such as a request for election or contempt of court.

The court imposed on candidates and their parties the obligation to publish or broadcast at least three times before the poll the details of the proceedings against them. The ruling applies to all candidates in the assembly elections of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana. Parties are also required to download details on their websites.

If anybody provides a false statement, the Electoral Commission may act under various provisions, including section 171 (G) of the Indian Penal Code which provides for a fine.

The Electoral Commission received a statement on the expenses incurred in criminal history advertising on television and in newspapers. She could make a decision on Monday. "It's up to them to run ads in television channels and more widely distributed newspapers in the constituencies or districts concerned, or to disseminate information about cases through the media," said a senior the Electoral Commission.

"Advertising expenses must be borne by the candidate and the political party concerned. Currently, it must be taken into account in calculating the election expenses of a candidate. We received representations in this regard and asked for an increase in the candidate's spending limit, "said the official.