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

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Online education 'driving' digital divide: $1.97 bn industry's paid users grow at 6x rate

Counterview Desk
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, in a new report in the series on Lockdown on Civil Liberties focusing on education has said that there is a huge “push-out” children due during the pandemic, with deepening digital-divide playing a major role.