ADR to move SC for clarification
The Association for Democratic Reforms, an NGO, plans to move the Supreme Court to seek clarification about its historic verdict on filing of affidavits on criminal antecedent, assets, financial liabilities and educational qualification to know whether the top court order will also apply to the presidential candidates.
The ADR, on whose petition the SC had laid down the law in 2003 making the filing of such affidavits mandatory for every candidate contesting the parliamentary and state Assembly elections, will make one more attempt to convince the Election Commission that the top court order will cover the presidential and vice-presidential candidates as well.
The EC had on June 20 rejected the plea of the NGO.
The ADR’s national coordinator Anil Bairwal said since they had sought the opinion of two former Chief Election Commissioners — N. Gopalaswami and T.S. Krishnamurthy — who “agreed” that filing of the affidavits should be made mandatory for presidential and vice-presidential candidates. “We will make one more attempt to convince the EC. If the EC still does not consider our plea, we certainly will approach the Supreme Court,” he said.
The ADR in its representation to the EC had submitted that as per Article 79 of the Constitution, Parliament comprises the President, House of People (Lok Sabha) and Council of the States (Rajya Sabha).
“Therefore, if the SC order applies to those contesting elections to both the houses of Parliament then it will also apply to the presidential candidates in the same manner,” Mr Bairwal said. “Thus, the proper implementation of SC verdict requires filing of the affidavits by all the candidates contesting presidential and vice-presidential elections,” the ADR had said.
However, the EC had rejected their plea stating that the top court verdict essentially was meant to cover parliamentary and state Assembly elections and there was “no clarity” in it whether it would extended to the election of President and vice-president.