Press Release, 16 November, 2015
Gujarat Elections Watch and ADR appeals Affidavits of Candidates in Local Body Elections should be uploaded on SEC's website for wider dissemination

Gujarat Election Watch (GEW) and ADR appeals to the State Election Commission to upload the affidavits submitted by the candidates contesting local body elections on the State Election Commission's website for wider dissemination of candidates' background information and letting the electors make an informed choice. A copy of the letter is attached.
On the lines of Parliamentary and Assembly elections, affidavits with nomination papers should also be taken from candidates contesting local body elections containing information about their criminal antecedents, assets and liabilities, and educational qualifications. And the scanned copy of these affidavits should be put up on the website within 24 hours of filing of the affidavit.

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-and-report/election-watch/local-bodies/maharashtra/2015/analysis-criminal-and-financialhttp://adrindia.org/research-and-reports/local-bodies/analysis-criminal-financial-other-details-candidates-contesting-municipal-corporation-delhi) The affidavits of the candidates contesting local body elections in these states were readily available on their SEC’s website.

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