Even with Crimil Charges?
According to a recent study, 30 of the 539 candidates contesting in 65 constituencies that will go to the polls in the first phase of the Assam Assembly elections on April 4 have crimil cases pending against them. These figures were compiled by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Assam Election Watch (AEW) after alysing the affidavits of all the 539 candidates. This implies that the candidates themselves have admitted to having been charged with the crimes. And it is quite unlikely that all the charges in all the 30 cases were false or trumped up. It will be recalled that in 2010, the Supreme Court, in support of a public interest litigation filed by ADR, had instructed that every candidate must declare his/her background under four topics, mely, educatiol background, monetary liability, assets and crimil cases. The study report is based on the affidavits filed by the candidates. It is certainly possible that some candidates might have furnished wrong information. If this is proved, the Supreme Court is prepared to take suitable action. However, one can hardly expect the Supreme Court to be spending much of its time on such cases. As such, the responsibility of dealing with the nomitions of candidates with crimil charges against them should be taken over by the Election Commission of India, that should be more concerned about giving the benefit of doubt to the people (rather than to such candidates) by disqualifying as many candidates with crimil charges against them as is possible. Even if tural justice might appear to be denied to some candidates as a consequence, no real harm will be done to the system itself.