• Existing guidelines need every candidate to declare their criminal antecedents three times before an election, in a national daily and two regional language newspapers.
• Candidates and parties time advertisements in such a way that this gets least public attention.
• Under new guidelines, declaration will have to spread over three rounds of publicity beginning with soon after filing nomination and ending towards end of campaign period.
• It will help voters in exercising their choices in a more informed manner.
• In March 2020, EC announced a new self-declaration format for political parties to ensure that they make public details of criminal antecedents of every candidate and explain reasons for their selection.
• It follows a Supreme Court order and earlier EC instructions on the matter issued in 2018 and 2019.
Impact of criminalization:
• It undermines sanctity of Parliament, Loss of public faith in Judicial machinery, culture of muscle and money power in politics etc.
• Article 102(1) and 191(1) disqualifies an MPs and an MLAs respectively on certain grounds.
• Section 8 of Representation of People Act, 1951, bans convicted politicians. But those facing trial are free to contest elections.
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Section 8 of Representation of People Act
Mains level: Timelines for publicity of criminal history of candidates