The Election Commission has instructed its secretariat to study the Supreme Court order asking poll candidates to advertise their criminal antecedents in the media, so as to formulate a standardised implementation regime and bring it before the poll panel for approval at the earliest.

“The Supreme Court direction, being the law of the land, has to be implemented without delay. The Commission has asked for a certified copy of the order and meanwhile also asked its secretariat to access the order online. The secretaries will look at possible changes needed to be made to the forms and reporting mechanism for the candidates, to ensure a standardised format for implementation of the Supreme Court directions,” said a senior EC functionary.

Sources in the poll panel indicated that the idea is to have a standardised format for reporting of criminal antecedents of a candidate after his nomination has been filed. This may include prescribing what kind of media outreach should be aimed at, the frequency of making declarations of pending criminal cases or conviction in criminal cases; and the format in which the declarations will have to be made.

“The secretariat has been asked to come up with the total formulation for implementation of the Supreme Court orders, including the policies, regulatory framework and reporting format. The officers will bring the formulation before the Commission in the next few days itself, for consideration and approval,” said the EC functionary.

Asked if the new mechanism for declaration of criminal antecedents for candidates will be implemented from the state polls due later this year, the functionary said it was bound by the Supreme Court order which “is now the law of the land”.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday directed that election candidates, after filing their nomination, should repeatedly make declarations in the print and electronic media about any criminal antecedents, even as it stopped short of debarring those charged with heinous crimes from contesting polls.

The court also asked Parliament to enact a law making it mandatory for political parties to revoke membership of persons against whom charges are framed in heinous and grievous offences and not to set up such persons in elections both for Parliament and state assemblies.

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