The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India to restrain political parties from fielding candidates who have criminal records, PTI reported. However, the court said the petitioner can make a representation to the Election Commission.
“We are not inclined to entertain this petition,” a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna told the petitioner. “However, it will be open to the petitioner to approach the Election Commission by giving a representation.”
The plea was filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay. The plea contended that the cause of action arose on October 10 last year when the Election Commission, while issuing a notification for Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana, did not amend the Election Symbol Order, 1968, and the Model Code of Conduct, to prevent parties from nominating candidates with criminal antecedents.
“Criminalisation of politics in India has only grown,” Upadhyay said in his plea. “Data published by the Association for Democratic Reforms shows that 24% members of Parliament have criminal cases pending against them.”
In September, the Supreme Court had refused to disqualify politicians against whom criminal charges are pending from contesting elections, and left it to Parliament to frame an appropriate law.