Candidates as well as political parties must publish a statement in widely circulated newspapers about the candidate’s background and give wide publicity in the electronic media.
Wide publicity means that the same must be done at least three times after the filing of nomination papers.
Disclosure of these details, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Punjab S Karuna Raju on Thursday informed that the concerned political party will be compelled to publish on its website information related to candidates with criminal backgrounds. He said it will be mandatory for political parties (at central and national election level) to upload detailed information about people with pending criminal cases (including the nature of the offenses and relevant details) to their website. such as whether charges have been laid, jurisdiction involved, case number, etc.) who were selected as candidates, as well as the reasons for this selection, as well as the reasons why other individuals with no background criminals could not be selected as candidates.
The reasons for selection should refer to the qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidates concerned, not mere “winnability” at the polls, he added.
The CEO further informed that the political party must also publish information regarding the criminal backgrounds of the candidates in at least one local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper in addition to their official social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.
It specifies that these details will be published within 48 hours following the selection of the candidate or at least two weeks before the first date of submission of the
nominations, whichever comes first.
The political party concerned must then submit a report of compliance with these guidelines to the ECI within 72 hours of the selection of the said candidate. If a political party fails to submit such compliance report to the Electoral Commission, the Electoral Commission shall bring such non-compliance by the political party concerned to the attention of the Supreme Court as being in disregard of the orders/directions of this Court, a he declared.
The CEO further pointed out that to ensure periodic voter education during the campaign, the Commission has now prescribed the time limit for publicizing criminal backgrounds by political parties and contesting candidates during the period commencing the day following the last date of withdrawal, i.e. February 4. , 2022 and up to 48 hours before ending at the time set for the conclusion of the ballot.
According to the schedule, the first advertisement must be broadcast within the first 4 days of the withdrawal of applications, the second must be broadcast between the following 5th and 8th day, while the third advertisement must be broadcast from the 9th day to the last day of the campaign (the second day before the election date).
The CEO advised that the relevant political party and candidates should have this statement published in newspapers of a particular region three times in font size 12 in the appropriate place.
He said that advertisements must be published in at least one national daily newspaper with a circulation greater than 75,000, as indicated by the DAVP/Audit Bureau of Circulation in the registers available for advertising and a local vernacular newspaper published in the geographical territory. of State/UT, in the local vernacular, with a circulation of at least 25,000 copies, as indicated by the DAVP/Audit Bureau of Circulation in available publicity materials.
The same can be broadcast for at least seven seconds in the prescribed format for television channels to ensure the instructions are implemented in letter and spirit, he said, while adding that the advertising information concerning the criminal past of the candidates will be broadcast on television. Channels from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. in local language or English.
The candidates and political parties concerned would provide the required information in the prescribed format, ie Forms C-4 and C-5, respectively to the district election officers and the Chief Electoral Officer.
He also clarified that criminal prosecution under Section 123(4) of the Representation of Peoples Act and under Sections 51 and 171(G) of the Indian Penal Code would be incurred if the candidate provided wrong information. . Dr. Raju further reiterated that such advertisement should only be posted by candidates who had been convicted or had pending criminal cases.
He further informed that applicants with a criminal past are required to clearly mention the title of the case with the number and status along with the details of the case under item no. 5 of form 26. If the state of the file is modified after the filing of the declarations of candidacy by the candidates, it will be up to the candidate to seize or not the concerned president of the election of the notification in this regard, he adds .
He also clarified that applicants who have not been convicted or have pending criminal charges do not need to post such ads.
The CEO specified that advertising expenses in this regard would be incurred by the Political Party and the Candidates, which would be added to the election expenses. He also mentioned that the returning officers could not inquire into the authenticity of the allegations made by the candidates concerning the criminal past for having disseminated information published in the newspapers and broadcast on the television stations.
The CEO further stated that the candidate should publish his criminal history in C-1 format in newspapers and TV stations, similarly political parties should publish the criminal history in C-2 format in newspapers and TV stations. of television, except that this returning officer will issue a reminder in this regard for the candidate concerned in C-3 format.