The Supreme Court has held that a candidate can be disqualified if he or she fails to disclose information about assets held by spouse and dependent children. A bench of Justice SS Nijjar and justice AK Sikri said that non-disclosure would amount to non-compliance of Election Commission rules to reveal requisite information in the affidavits to be filed along with their nomination papers.

“… the citizens have fundamental right  under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India to know  about the candidates contesting the elections and this is the primary reason that casts a solemn obligation  on  these candidates to furnish information regarding the criminal antecedents, educational qualifications and assets held by the candidate, his  spouse and dependent children,” the bench held. It is on that basis that not only EC has issued guidelines, but also prepared formats in which the affidavits are to be filed, the court said.


The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) is a national-level NGO that works toward increased transparency and accountability of electoral and political systems in India. ADR first came into the limelight in early 2000, when the Supreme Court (SC) of India, responding to a Public Interest Litigation filed by ADR in 1999, made it mandatory for all candidates contesting legislative elections to disclose their criminal, educational and financial backgrounds. The SC directed the Election Commission of India to issue necessary orders, in exercise of its power under Article 324 of the Constitution, to call for information on affidavit from each candidate seeking election to the Parliament or a State Legislature as a necessary part of his nomination paper furnishing therein information relating to his conviction/acquittal/discharge in any criminal offence in the past, any case pending against him of any offence punishable with imprisonment for 2 years or more, information regarding assets (movable, immovable, bank balance etc.) of the candidate as well as of his/her spouse and that of dependants, liability, if any, and the educational qualification of the candidate. ON June 28, 2002 the Election Commission of India issued a detailed order under Article 324 of the Constitution, in conformity with a Supreme Court directive to it on disclosing certain items of information pertaining to candidates during elections. The E.C. has prescribed that each candidate submit an affidavit at the time of filing his/her nomination papers for election to the Rajya Sabha or the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly or Council of a State. The E.C.’s order makes it mandatory for every candidate to furnish full and complete information relating to all the five matters specified in the Supreme Court judgment. They are whether the candidate has ever been convicted/acquitted/discharged in any criminal case; whether prior to six months of the filing of nomination, the candidate was accused in any pending case of any offence punishable with imprisonment for two years or more, and in which charges are framed or taken cognizance of by the court of law; the details of the assets of the candidate, his/her spouse and those of his/her dependents; liabilities; and his/her educational qualifications. Also on September  13 ,2014 the SC,   In what could be seen as a big step towards election reform in the country, , said insufficient information given by candidates in their affidavit detailing personal antecedents would allow returning 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.


Supreme Court. Supreme Court of India came into existence on 26th January, 1950. The original Constitution of 1950 envisaged a Supreme Court with a Chief Justice and 7 puisne Judges – leaving it to Parliament to increase this number. The Supreme Court of India, today, comprises the Chief Justice and 30 other Judges appointed by the President of India. Supreme Court Judges retire upon attaining the age of 65 years. In order to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court, a person must be a citizen of India and must have been, for at least five years, a Judge of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession, or an Advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession for at least 10 years or he must be, in the opinion of the President, a distinguished jurist. Provisions exist for the appointment of a Judge of a High Court as an Ad-hoc Judge of the Supreme Court and for retired Judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts to sit and act as Judges of that Court. The constitution consists provisions related to the union Judiciary in Art. 124-147.

ELECTION COMMISSION: Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body. The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950. Originally the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.

For the first time two additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th October 1989 but they had a very short tenure till 1st January 1990. Later, on 1st October 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed. The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision making power by majority vote.

The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.

The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners. They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India. The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.

Under the Constitution, the Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures. Further, the cases of persons found guilty of corrupt practices at elections which come before the Supreme Court and High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its opinion on the question as to whether such person shall be disqualified and, if so, for what period. The opinion of the Commission in all such matters is binding on the President or, as the case may be, the Governor to whom such opinion is tendered.

The Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate who has failed to lodge an account of his election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by law. The Commission has also the power for removing or reducing the period of such disqualification as also other disqualification under the law.

The decisions of the Commission can be challenged in the High Court and the Supreme Court of the India by appropriate petitions. By long standing convention and several judicial pronouncements, once the actual process of elections has started, the judiciary does not intervene in the actual conduct of the polls. Once the polls are completed and result declared, the Commission cannot review any result on its own. This can only be reviewed through the process of an election petition, which can be filed before the High Court, in respect of elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures. In respect of elections for the offices of the President and Vice President, such petitions can only be filed before the Supreme Court.

Sukumar Sen was the first CEC of India. VS Sampath is the current Chief Election Commissioner of India HS Brahma (left) and Nazim Zaidi are current election commissioners.


The  concept  of  Public  Interest  Litigation  is  a  phenomenon which is evolved to bring justice to the reach of people who are handicapped by ignorance, indigence, illiteracy and other down trodden people. Through the Public Interest Litigation, the cause of several people who are not able to approach the Court is espoused. The concept of PIL, having its origin in Australia, has emanated from the power of judicial review of the constitution. A PIL can be filed by any public spirited individual or organisation. Even a postcard can be treated as a writ petition.


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