Chennai: Madras High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking to exhibit vital contents such as criminal cases in the affidavit of contesting candidates at all public offices, observing that there was every likelihood of rival candidates taking advantage of it by indulging in adverse publicity.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice S K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh dismissed the PIL from an anti-corruption movement seeking a direction to the Election Commission to exhibit in brief the extracts of vital contents such as pending cases, convictions and asset details from the affidavits of candidates in Assembly and Parliament polls.
The petitioner had wanted the details to be exhibited in proper sized display boards at the offices of VAO, Tahsildar, BDOs, RDOs, Collectors and polling booths among others after the final list of contestants was published.
Senior counsel G Rajagopalan for Election Commission submitted that under Section 130 of the Representation of the People Act, adverse publicity/canvassing was prohibited within 100 metres of the polling stations on the date of the poll.
If the particulars, as sought by the petitioner were exhibited, apart from leading to law and order problem, it may also pave way for some of the candidates to indulge in adverse publicity/canvassing.
Therefore, the request made by the petitioner was not feasible for compliance.
Moreover, Part B of Form 26 contains relevant particulars. As per the instructions given by the EC to the Chief Electoral Officers of all states and Union territories, the abstract Part II of the affidavit (given in Part B of Form 26) filed by the contesting candidates shall be displayed at specific additional public offices such as Collectorate, Zila Parishad Office and hence no further action was required, he submitted.
Concurring with his submissions, the court said, "In view of the specific instruction issued, we are of the considered view that no orders are required," and dismissed the PIL.