Non-disclosure of crime cases will disqualify poll candidates: SC

The Supreme Court today decreed that the suppression or non-disclosure of information about accusations of serious crimes by a candidate at the time of filing his or her nomination is liable to lead to disqualifiction, as it interferes with the voters' right to make an informed choice.

As a candidate has the special knowledge of pending cases against him where cognizance has been taken or charges have been framed and there is non-disclosure on his part, it would amount to undue influence.

Therefore, the election is to be declared null and void by the election tribunal, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant ruled.

Dealing with the question of whether non-disclosure of criminal antecedents could fall within corrupt practices as defined under the Representation of People Act, the apex court said, ''While filing the nomination form, if the requisite information, as has been highlighted by us, relating to criminal antecedents, are not given, indubitably, there is an attempt to suppress, effort to misguide and keep the people in dark.''

The 97-page ruling came in the background of the election of the president of the Thekkampatti panchayat in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore district.

The case reached the apex court through an appeal against a Madras High Court decision nullifying the election of Krishnamoorthy as president of the panchayat in 2006.

His nomination had been challenged before the Election Tribunal on the grounds that he had suppressed details of criminal cases pending against him.