SC agrees to hear plea seeking deregistration of political parties; spotlight on SP

Ahead of Assembly polls in 5 states, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a plea seeking the deregistration of political parties for not disclosing the criminal cases of their election candidates. Mentioning the matter before an SC bench led by CJI NV Ramana, BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay sought an urgent listing of the same citing that the nomination process has already started. Retorting to this, the CJI observed, “Can we prevent persons who have cases against them from filing nomination”? Speaking after the court hearing, Upadhyay affirmed that the SC will take up the matter for hearing very soon. 

SC lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay remarked, “The Supreme Court has agreed to hear our PIL in which I have demanded that the political party which is giving tickets to criminals should be deregistered. If it is giving tickets to criminals, then it should explain why it is doing so and why is it not getting a single good candidate. If these are false cases, the political parties should provide all this information on their website, official Facebook and Twitter page, in a newspaper and on one news channel.”

He added, “The Supreme Court said that there will be an early hearing in this matter. I hope that the political parties will choose good candidates and will not give tickets to criminals. Because Assembly and Lok Sabha is the temple of democracy. There is no need for criminals there. Good, honest and patriotic candidates who can frame good laws are necessary.”

Details of the petition

Upadhyay’s PIL sought a direction to the Election Commission of India to take steps to ensure that every political party publishes the details regarding criminal cases of each candidate along with the reason for such selection on its official website within 48 hours. It also demanded that the ECI should file a contempt case against the president of the party that violates two judgments of the SC in this regard. In a demand perceived as a veiled attack on the Samajwadi Party, the BJP leader called for the deregistration of such a political party. 

He asserted that SP had violated the guidelines by neither publishing the criminal records of its Kairana candidate Nahid Hasan in electronic, print and social media nor the reason for his selection. Terming him as a “notorious gangster”, Upadhyay claimed that Hasan is facing multiple criminal cases relating to fraud and extortion. On January 15, Hasan was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police in a case registered under the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act and remanded to judicial custody for 14 days by the MP/MLA court.

The plea stressed, “The Injury caused to citizens is extremely large because even recognized political parties are giving tickets to dreaded criminals. Therefore, voters find it difficult to cast their vote freely and fairly, though it’s a fundamental right under Article 19. The consequences of permitting criminals to contest, become legislators are extremely serious for democracy and secularism.” 

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