Saturday, August 13, 2022
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ON-FILING OF  AFFIDAVITS  WITH  NOMINATION FORMS BY CONTESTING CANDIDATES  FOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION QUESTIONED BY HC ADVOCATE, ECI  YET TO RESPOND

CHANDIGARH – The  process of filing nomination forms by prospective candidates for 16th Presidential Election 2022 is currently underway which will continue till Wednesday, June 29. The scrutiny of nominations would be done the next day on June 30 while the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is July 2. The Polling, if necessary, is scheduled for  July 18 and the counting would be on July 21.

Last Friday, on June 24, Droupadi Murmu, the ruling NDA candidate for Presidential Election filed her nomination. The joint opposition-sponsored nominee, Yashwant Sinha filed his nomination on Monday, June 27.

Meanwhile, an Advocate at Punjab and Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar,

has written to Rajiv Kumar, Chief Election Commissioner(CEC), Anup Chandra Pandey, sole Election Commissioner (EC) in Election Commission of India (ECI)  and PC Mody, the  duly appointed Returning Officer (R.O.) for 16th Presidential Election at Parliament of India and  who is also Secretary-General of Rajya Sabha, pointing out a glaring fact over why none of the candidates who have till date filed nominations for  upcoming Presidential Election have not filed the requisite Affidavit(s) along with submission of their nominations form(s).

Hemant, who has sent the above memorandum as a  public-spirited individual and purely in public interest as a Citizen of India, the country which is World’s largest Parliamentary Democracy, has written that he seriously wonders  why during ongoing nomination filing process in 16th Presidential Election 2022, the requisite Affidavit(s) containing details/information regarding prospective Candidate’s (as well as his/her spouse’s) assets, liabilities, dues towards banks/financial institutions/public authorities, details of criminal antecedents i.e. pending (criminal) cases, if any,  be it at investigation, inquiry or trial stage etc. including the fact regarding his/her past conviction by any Court of law, if any,  as well as his/her educational/professional qualifications etc.  which is nevertheless mandated for every Public Election in the country be it of Panchayati Raj Institutions, Municipal bodies, State legislatures, Parliament  since the year 2003 courtesy/in compliance of a ruling of the Hon’ble Supreme Court (which has been reiterated by the Apex Court in subsequent years too till date) have not been submitted by any of the candidates who have filed nominations for 16th Presidential Election 2022 till date.

The Advocate questions  why submission of such Affidavit(s) has not been mandated or prescribed in the Presidential Election neither via enactment of an appropriate amendment by the Parliament in The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 nor by Central Government via corresponding amendment in The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974.

Even the Election Commission of India (ECI) has not issued any Order or Direction till date for the submission of such Affidavit(s) by exercising its plenary powers, as vested in it by the Constitution of India, for the reasons best known to it.

Hemant has written that he fails to understand what has hitherto prevented all appropriate Election Authorities responsible for conducting Presidential Election in India from making submission of such Affidavits mandatory along with nomination form of every prospective Candidate in  Presidential Election, which is indeed the election to the highest elective office in India, particularly since not only the Hon’ble Supreme Court directed the filing of such sort of Affidavit(s) in the year 2003 but ever since then the law in this regard has been further widely evolved not only by various actions/clarifications by Election Commission of India as well as the Central Government in the aftermath of various Apex Court subsequent rulings.

Hemant has sought appropriate clarification in this regard  particularly because there is no exemption or relaxation in any of the judgment/order pronounced by Apex Court as regard Presidential Election i.e. for non-filing of requisite Affidavits(s).  Till the time of filing this news story, there has been no response received either from ECI, CEC or from the  R.O. for the 16th Presidential Election.

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