Flooded with complaints of alleged falsification of election affidavits, the Election Commission has said people are free to approach the courts directly against candidates for concealing information in nomination papers.
The EC said while earlier the aggrieved persons could approach the returning officer with a complaint against a candidate for concealing information or making a false declaration in the election affidavit, now it is open to people to move a petition before the appropriate court on the issue directly. The EC circular issued to chief electoral officers of all the states last week comes in the wake of the poll panel being flooded with complaints against various candidates for making false disclosures in their affidavits.
In most of the complaints, the EC has been requested to either direct the returning officer to move court against the candidate or issue directions to concerned magistrates to take cognisance of false affidavits.
In June 2004, the EC had said that if complaints are filed before the returning officer on a false affidavit, the official would approach the court for action against the candidate if prima facie the allegation was found to be true. The rules relating affidavits were amended in August 2012 allowing any person to move court directly under Section 125(A) of the Representation of the People Act against a candidate for filing a false affidavit or concealing information. The poll panel said after the 2012 amendments, ‘there is no stipulation that complaints under that Section (125A) have to be made by the public servant (returning officer)’.
Earlier this month, the Congress had approached the Election Commission over the issue of the marital status of Narendra Modi seeking action by the poll body against the Bharatiya Janata Party leader for hiding facts in election affidavits filed by him in the past. Recently, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had moved the Commission alleging that Congress candidate from Chandni Chowk and Law Minister Kapil Sibal had wilfully not disclosed details of companies owned by his wife in his election affidavit.