Candidates will have to advertise criminal records from poll expenses: Election Commission

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NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has made it clear that candidates will have to bear the cost of advertising their criminal antecedents in TV and newspapers as it comes in the category of ‘poll expenses’, a senior functionary said on Thursday.

The poll panel has made it compulsory for candidates contesting elections to advertise their criminal antecedents in TV and newspapers at least thrice during electioneering.

Though directions in this regard were issued on October 10, 2018, the rule is being used for the first time in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The functionary said political parties have been informed that candidates will have to bear the cost of the advertisement from their poll expenses.

Some parties had approached the poll panel urging it to allow the advertisement expenditure be borne by them and not the candidates.

The parties too will have to advertise the criminal records of the candidates they have fielded. The expenditure of advertisement by the parties will be borne by them.

This means that candidates and parties contesting the elections will have to publicise their criminal records at least on three different dates in widely circulated newspapers and popular TV channels during the campaign period.

Candidates who do not have records have to mention that. The candidates will now have to fill up an amended form (number 26). They will have to inform parties about their antecedents such as cases in which they have been convicted and cases pending against them.

The parties, the EC said, will be “obliged” to put the information about the candidates on their websites. The EC direction of October, 2018 was silent on whether the candidates will have to pay from their pocket for the publicity.

Parties which fail to comply, face the prospects of getting their recognition withdrawn or suspended.

Candidates have to submit clippings of their declaration published in papers and parties have to submit details about the number of such candidates in a state.

While there is a ceiling on expenditure of candidates, the parties have no such limit.Candidates in Lok Sabha polls can spend up to Rs 70 lakh.

All registered political parties have to submit a statement of their election expenditure to the election commission within 90 days of the completion of the Lok Sabha elections.

All candidates are required to submit their expenditure statement to the poll panel within 30 days of the completion of the elections.

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