Following up on the Supreme Court verdict regarding the criminal antecedents of candidates, the Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday amended rules for declaration of criminal cases/ liabilities by the candidates and came out with a format for publishing media advertisement by them ahead of elections.
The candidates as well as the political parties will now have to publicise the details of criminal cases pending against them or cases in which they have been convicted, in newspapers and on television on "at least on three different occasions".
"The candidates at elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council, who have criminal cases against them, shall publish a declaration about their criminal cases for wide publicity in newspapers with wide circulation in the constituency area," the EC said in an order sent to the Chief Electoral Officers of all states and UTs as well as to all political parties separately.
The declaration is to be published in a given format "at least on three different dates" from the day following the last date for withdrawal of candidatures and up to two days before the date of poll.
However, in the case of the declaration in TV channels, the same should be completed "before the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll", the EC said.
The declaration in newspapers should be published in font size of at least 12 and should be placed suitably in the newspapers so that the directions for wide publicity are "complied with in letter and spirit".
"In the case of candidates with criminal cases set up by political parties, whether recognized parties or registered un-recognized parties, such candidates are required to declare before the Returning Officer (RO) concerned that they have informed their political party about the criminal cases against them. Provision for such declaration has been made in Form-26 in the newly inserted Item (6A)," the EC said.
The candidates will have to submit the copies of the newspapers to the District Election Officer (DEO) concerned, along with the "account of election expenses to be filed by them under Section 78 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951", the EC said.
"It may also be noted that the provisions for the additional affidavit in respect of dues against government accommodation, if any, that may have been allotted to the candidates, have now been incorporated in Form-26 itself under Item (8) relating to liabilities to public financial institutions and government," the Commission said.