NEW DELHI: Cracking the whip on candidates furnishing false information in poll affidavits,
the Election Commission
on Tuesday said it would henceforth take cognisance of complaints relating to such false affidavits and refer the matter to the relevant investigating authorities on a case-to-case basis. As per the extant provisions, individuals are filing such complaints in the competent court under section 125A of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
A full meeting of EC — comprising chief election commissioner
Arora and election commissioners Ashok
and Sushil Chandra — on Tuesday delved into the issue of the Commission taking cognisance of complaints of false affidavits filed by candidates at the time of their nomination, “which adversely affects the rights of voters as well as impinges on the purity of electoral process”.
Stating that furnishing false information in election affidavits is a devious design to defeat the right of the voter to be informed and transparency in elections, EC said it had been receiving complaints against false affidavits filed by some candidates. “As per the extant provision, individuals are filing such complaints in the competent court under section 125A of the Representation of People Act, 1951. Now, Commission has reviewed this position and decided that, in pursuit of a level-playing field, it will take cognisance of complaints, which indicate serious omission on the part of the candidate, and refer such matters to the relevant investigating authorities on a case-to-case basis,” a EC release said on Tuesday.
A candidate, in his/her affidavit, is required to disclose his criminal antecedents; assets and liabilities; and educational qualifications. Commission had in 2013 decided that the assets and liabilities of the candidates, as filed in their affidavits, would be verified by Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
Citing the observation of the Supreme Court in People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India (2003) case, EC on Tuesday said the foundation of a healthy
is to have well-informed citizens-voters. “He must have necessary information so that he can intelligently decide in favour of a candidate who satisfies his criterion of being elected as an MP or MLA.”
The poll panel further stated that the voter has a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution to know about the candidates at an election.
“Commission views the erosion of this fundamental right as an affront to the democratic ideals which underpin the system of government. Furnishing false information in election affidavits is a devious design to defeat the right of the voter to be informed and transparency in elections. The Commission has today decided to robustly address this challenge to further ensure free, fair and ethical elections in the country,” said EC.