Criminal Cases of Candidates in Elections

The Communist Party has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner of India regarding the publication of the details of criminal cases pending against the candidates in newspapers and the electronic media. This requirement puts in a highly uneven ground for exercising the democratic right to contest in elections because of very high costs incurred in the publication of such information in widely circulated regional and national newspapers and TV channels.

The CPIML is opposed to the involvement of unjustified money power in elections. For candidates and parties who solely depend upon the small contributions made by party members and supporters in a transparent manner, and who do not accept contributions from big commercial/corporate establishments, the costs incurred in publishing such information is huge and leaves such candidates on a highly uneven ground.

The CPIML has told the ECI that most of the candidates fielded by our party come from economically vulnerable backgrounds. Publication of criminal cases in print and electronic media is generally far beyond their expenditure limits hence the implementation of these guidelines puts them in an uneven ground.

The information regarding details of criminal cases is also being given in the Affidavit in Form-26 which are displayed on the ECI website accessible to the general public.

The party has suggested that the publications of criminal cases of candidates in regional and national newspapers and electronic media should be done at the expenses arranged by the ECI from the government exchequer for all candidates. This will ensure equal opportunities for all in the electoral process which is the very basis of our polity. A citizen’s right to contest in elections should not be constrained by any precondition that paves the way for an uneven ground. The concerned parties as well as candidates should publish the same information in respective social media accounts as usual.