SC order on decriminalising politics will help strengthen democracy: EC

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora flanked by Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa (L) and Sunil Chandra during a press conference. Photo: PTI
The Election Commission on Friday said it "wholeheartedly" welcomes the Supreme Court order on decriminalisation of politics, saying it will go a long way in setting new moral yardsticks for improving electoral democracy.

In a statement, the commission said it will reissue with changes its October 10 2018 instructions and guidelines for ensuring publicity of criminal antecedents by the candidates and the concerned political parties for the information of voters following the apex court order.

The October 2018 instructions are being implemented in all the elections since November 2018.

"Now, the commission proposes to reiterate these instructions with suitable modifications in order to implement the directions of the Supreme Court in letter as well as in spirit," it said.

In October 2018, the poll panel made it compulsory for candidates contesting elections to advertise their criminal antecedents in television and newspapers at least thrice during electioneering.

The Election Commission (EC) had made it clear that candidates will have to bear the cost of advertising their criminal antecedents in television and newspapers as it comes in the category of 'poll expenses'.

The poll panel said it "wholeheartedly welcomes this landmark order, which is bound to go a long way in setting new moral yardsticks for overall betterment of electoral democracy".

In a far-reaching verdict aimed at decriminalising Indian politics, the apex court on Thursday directed political parties to upload on their websites and social media platforms the details of pending criminal cases against their candidates and the reasons for selecting them as also for not giving ticket to those without criminal antecedents.

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