The voters’ right to know the antecedents of the candidates is based on interpretation of Article 19(1)(a) which provides that all citizens of this country would have fundamental right to “freedom of speech and expression” and this phrase is construed to include fundamental right to know relevant antecedents of the candidate contesting the elections. Also, in March 2003, in ADR vs Union of India case, the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement, made it mandatory for candidates contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to declare their criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities and educational qualifications.
In keeping with the spirit of the judgement, at the All India State Election Commissioners' (SEC) Conference held in July 2003, all the State Election Commissions had unanimously resolved to implement the disclosure rules in local body elections.
On 28th June 2011, Gujarat SEC had also issued an order in this regard (soft copy is attached). SECs of almost all the big states have also issued the similar orders (soft copies of some of these orders are attached). In the recently concluded UP Panchayat elections and Maharashtra Municipal body elections as well, we have conducted Election Watch or analysis of the background details of candidates for the benefit of the general public. (Link of some of these reports are here:http://adrindia.org/research-