NEW DELHI: In what could be seen as a big step towards election reform in the country, theSupreme Court on Friday said insufficient information given by candidates in their affidavit detailing personal antecedents would allowreturning officer (RO) to reject their nomination papers.
The Supreme court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that the returning officer had the power to reject the nomination papers on the grounds that the affidavit disclosing his assets and his criminal antecedents is not complete or is not in proper form.
The court judgement came on the plea by NGO Resurgent India. The NGO contended that a large number of candidates were leaving the columns concerning their assets or criminal antecedents, if any, blank.
If a candidate leaves columns blank in affidavit then it will violate the voters’ natural right to know about the candidate. This is the third important judgment by SC on elections since July 10. If the candidate still left columns blank even after being reminded by the RO, then the RO is empowered to reject the nomination papers.
In earlier two judgments, the SC had ordered immediate disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs and had barred arrested persons from contesting elections.