PUCL V Union of India Case Study
In Supreme Court of India
PUCL V Union of India
(2002) 5 SCC 294
People's Union for Civil Liberties (P.U.C.L)
No 1: Union of India
FACTS OF THE CASE
The petition questioned before the Supreme Court, ‘Whether, before casting votes, voters have a right to know relevant particulars of their candidates? In short Supreme Court was to consider “whether or not an elector, a citizen of the country has a fundamental right to receive the information regarding the criminal activities of a candidate to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly for making an estimate for himself-as to whether the person who is contesting the election has a background making him worthy of his vote, by peeping into the past of the candidate.”
This contention was raised by Association of Democratic Reforms firstly before Delhi HC basing theif argument on (a) Report of the Vohra Committee of the Government of India Ministry of Home Affair and: (b) the 170th Law Commission Report where the Delhi High Court held that “for making a right choice, it is essential that the past of the candidate should not be kept in the dark as it is not in the interest of the democracy and well being of the country.”
Aggrieved by this decision, the Union of India had went in appeal to the Supreme Court wherein it was submitted that till suitable amendments were made in the Representation of People Act and Rules thereunder, the High Court should not have given any direction to the Election Commission.
- The Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to call for information from each candidate seeking election to Parliament or a State Legislature as a necessary part of his nomination paper, furnishing therein, information on the following aspects in relation to his/her candidature:-
- Whether the Candidate is convicted/acquitted/discharged of any criminal offence in the part, if any, any whether he was punished with imprisonment or fine?
- Prior to six months of filing of nomination, whether the candidate is accused in any pending case, of any offence punishable with imprisonment for two years or more, and in which charge is framed or cognizance is taken by the Court of law. If so, the thereof.
- The assets (immovable, movable, bank balances etc.) of a candidate and of his/her spouse and that of dependants.
- Liabilities, if any, particularly whether there are any over dues of any public financial institution or Government dues.
- The educational qualification of the Candidate.