Political parties must upload on their websites details of criminal cases against poll candidates and the reasons for selecting them, the Supreme Court said today, flagging an “alarming rise in the criminalisation of politics” in the last four national elections.

The Supreme Court said it would be mandatory for parties to upload the details of their candidates’ criminal history on their websites, on social media and in newspapers within 48 hours of selection. “Political parties will have to specify reasons for selecting candidates having pending criminal cases against them on their website,” said the court.

Parties must submit the same details to the Election Commission within 72 hours, the court said.

“The reason to select candidates should be based on merit and not winnability. Winnability can’t be the only justification,” the top court directed. If political parties failed to give the details or the Election Commission was unable to implement the directive, it would be considered contempt of court, the judges said.

The verdict comes on contempt petitions filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and others.


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