Skip to main content

Gujarat election panel "failure" to upload candidates' affidavits: Petition seeks local body polls quashed

Roshan Shah
By Our Representative
The Gujarat Nagrik Sanghathan, a civil rights organization of Ahmedabad, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) with the Gujarat High Court, strongly objecting to the State Election Commission’s failure to make public details of candidates, fighting forthcoming local body poll, regarding their criminal antecedents, assets, debts, educational qualifications etc.
The petition says, the failure to provide these details is taking place despite the SEC order dated June 28, 2011, which states that such information “is required to be supplied by filing an affidavit, sworn on oath and stamp paper, and the same is required to be submitted to the returning officer by the candidate concerned.”
The petition comes about a week after the well-known national election watchdog, Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), asked SEC chairman Dr Varesh Sinha to immediately upload the affidavits of the candidates contesting Gujarat local body elections on the SEC “for dissemination of information to voters.”
An ADR letter to Sinha, also signed by those representing Gujarat Election Watch, the state wing of the National Election Watch (NEW), a congregation of over 1,200 civil society groups across the country, said, this should be done “on the lines of Parliamentary and Assembly elections.”
Pointing out that the SEC has not been wanting candidates to fulfill this requirement with “due seriousness”, the petition, filed through advocate KR Koshti, claims, “Several instances come to fore where candidates have suppressed or furnished wrong or misleading information stating wrong facts in their affidavits before the returning officer.”
The petition recalls that the SEC has the “same powers and authority which is available to the Election Commission of India under Article 324 of the Constitution”. It adds, it is therefore its “legal duty” to conduct the election “in free, fair and unbiased manner” with a view to maintain “the purity of democracy”.
The petition follows political activist Roshan Shah of the Gujarat Nagrik Sangathan representing before the SEC on October 26, 2015 seeking information about the past affidavits of the elected candidates of the years 2005-2010, and upload them on its website. Yet, the petition says, “No reply has been received by the petitioner.”
The petition says, all this suggests that the process of local elections to the local self-governing bodies – municipal corporations, municipalities and panchayats – is “not free, fair and unbiased”, and the SEC “is not discharging” its duty independently.
The petition contends, the SEC is not complying by Section of the 33-A of the Representation of the People Act, which provides right to information to people about candidates, nor is it carrying out any awareness campaign among the voters on the use of None of the Above (NOTA) button, despite the High Court order on it on October 30.
Based on these facts, the petition, calling the SEC a “puppet” in hands of the ruling party, has that pleaded the entire election process to be “quashed in the interest of justice”, wondering how could the voter “decide” to cast his or her vote “in favour of a candidate who is involved in a criminal case”.

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive.