SC fixes final hearing on election issue on Dec 9

SC decides to commence final hearing on Dec 9 to examine consequences arising from filing of incomplete nomination papers by candidates in elections.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday decided to commence the final hearing on December 9 to examine the consequences arising from filing of incomplete nomination
papers by candidates in elections.

After a clarification was put forward that the issue was not referred to the Constitution Bench for examination, the apex court decided to fix the hearing to adjudicate the issue.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar will examine "what are the consequences if the forms and affidavits are incomplete while filing the nomination papers. If you don`t fill the forms completly, it would mean that you are not filing a declaration," the Bench had said while wanting to know whether it would amount to rejecting the nomination paper of a candidate.

The Bench, during the earlier hearing, had asked the Election Commission and petitioner`s counsel whether the issue of incomplete nomination paper has been referred or adjudication by the Constitution Bench or not.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said the matter which has been referred to the Constitution Bench relates to the general width and power of the Election
Commission during the elections.

The Bench was informed that while filing nomination papers, candidates are supposed to furnish affidavits in which there are columns in which they give their their educational
qualifications, financial assets and liabilities and criminal antecedents, if any.
However, instances are there when candidates prefer to leave the columns vacant. Advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the Election Commission, said the poll panel has already issued directions to all returning officers that it should be ensured that none
of the column is left vacant. The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2008 by Resurgence
India, a civil rights group, which detected a trend among candidates of leaving blank the columns demanding critical information about them.

Prashant Bhushan had told the bench that the PIL was filed after scrutinising over 7,000 affidavits filed by candidates along with their nomination papers during the Punjab assembly elections in 2007.
The NGO, has submitted that candidates, out of fear of attracting charges of perjury for giving false information under oath in the affidavit, would rather leave the columns
blank. Bhushan said this would make the poll panel incapable of either rejecting the nomination or taking any action.

EC, in its reply, had said that by resorting to this mechanism candidates have been able to frustrate voters` right to critical information about themselves.