SC refuses to disqualify politicians facing criminal charges from polls, asks Parliament to enact law

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The Supreme Court on September 25 refused to disqualify candidates facing criminal charges from contesting elections, and asked Parliament to frame an appropriate law instead.

The Supreme Court said, “National interest demands parliament enacts such legislation and the country awaits such legislation.”

A SC five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and comprising of Justices Rohinton Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra was responding to petitions seeking the disqualification of politicians from contesting elections once charges are framed against them by a court of law.

“We are not in a position to add disqualification of candidates on filing of chargesheet in criminal cases,” apex court added.

SC bench said that citizens have a right to be informed about the antecedents of their candidates.

The apex court directed the candidates and political leaders, with criminal cases pending against them, have to inform their respective political parties about their criminal records.

Lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay reportedly said, “The Supreme Court said each candidate will also submit details to the Election Commission and they will upload it on the website. The court said that the candidates must submit their criminal records to their respective political parties that will publish it on electronic, print and local media, at least three times before the polling date.”

The Supreme Court reserved its verdict in the matter on August 28.