EC can reject nomination if nominee leaves columns blank or gives false info: Apex Court
The Supreme Court has said in a judgement allowing a writ petition by Resurgence India that it is voter’s elementary right to know full particulars of a candidate who is representing him in Parliament/Assemblies , and non- disclosure of information by a contestant in his/her affidavit, leaving the relevant columns blank, will result in rejection of the nomination by the Election Commission.
At present, the EC has no authority to reject nominations if candidates either leave some columns blank or give false information. However, a case can be registered against them under the Indian Penal Code for providing false information.
How is complete filling of affidavit along with the nomination paper important?
As per the apex court, the affidavit along with nomination papers filed by the nominee effectuates the fundamental right of the citizens under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution which provides for freedom of speech and expression. The Returning Officer (RO) can remind a candidate to fill the relevant information. In case the affidavit is left blank it becomes impossible for the Returning Officer to verify whether the candidate is qualified or disqualified. In the event of nominee not furnishing relevant information even after the reminder by the RO, the nomination paper is fit to be rejected. The candidate has an option to clearly mention ‘NIL’ or ‘Not Applicable’ or ‘Not known’ in the columns,” and should not leave them blank. Filing of affidavit with blanks will evoke Section 125 A (i) of the Representation of the People Act.
However, the court held that as the nomination itself is rejected by the Returning Officer as a punishment, he must not be penalized again for the same act by prosecuting him/her.