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Mandatory for political parties to explain selection of candidates with criminal history: ECI

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Mandatory for political parties to explain selection of candidates with criminal history: ECI

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Political parties will need to share details of all candidates and explain the reasoning to why they have selected candidates with any criminal history.

Mandatory for political parties to explain selection of candidates with criminal history: ECI

The Election Commission of India has announced new norms for candidates with criminal antecedents, complying with the order by the Supreme Court of India on the matter. The new norms state that political parties will have to explain their selection of candidates with a criminal past. The commission added that "winnability" alone as a reason would not be sufficient.

The EC has also added that political parties are mandatorily expected to publish the information of their candidates on their websites. Since voters have a right to know about their candidates, the EC will also be uploading the same information about every candidate on its own Know Your Candidate web page.

"It is mandatory for political parties to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases selected as poll candidates. They will also have to give a reason to select the candidate," said Sushil Chandra, the Chief Election Commissioner.

The top election body Saturday announced the poll schedule for assembly elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The new norms are to bring itself in line with the Supreme Court’s judgement in February 2021, where the top court had said that political parties need to explain their reasoning in choosing candidates with a criminal history in order to stem an “alarming rise in the criminalisation of politics".

"The reason to select candidates should be based on merit and not winnability. Winnability can't be the only justification," the Supreme Court had stated in its judgement. The top court had warned political parties and the EC that the court would consider it contempt of court if the directive was not implemented or abided by.

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