Can candidates be disqualified if there are allegations of corrupt poll practices -like distribution of money -against them? A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court is deliberating on the matter, the Election Commission informed the Madras high court on Monday .
Arguing the case on behalf of the EC, additional solicitor general G Rajagopalan said the apex court’s constitutional bench would consider if it was within the ambit of the court to decide on laying down recommending the rulesguidelines pertaining to disqualification of candidates facing poll-related corruption. The matter pertains to a batch of petitions, filed earlier, which sought direction to the ECI to restrain it from providing party symbols to AIADMK candidate Senthil Balaji and DMK candidates K C Palaniswamy for allegedly indulging in bribery in Aravakurichi and Thanjavur Assembly constituencies.
Following allegations of corrupt electoral practices, the EC had deferred the elections in the two constituencies to May 23 from May 16 when the state went for polls and again to June 13 before recommending cancellation of the elections on May 28. The Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul posed a question to the EC whether the candidates could be absolved of charges of corrupt practices by mere cancellation of election.
Underlining that if the elec tion was cancelled, records pertaining to the candidate’s expenditure could not be called for, the Chief Justice also said this meant the candidates who allegedly spent funds in excess of the permissible limit could also go scot-free.
The ASG on Monday told the court that notices were issued to both DMK and AIADMK, on May 19 in the matter, ultimately resulting in cancellation of elections.