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New Delhi:

 
In a significant judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday directed political parties to upload on their respective websites the details of all pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, citing the alarming increase in criminalisation of politics in past four general elections.

A bench headed by Justice R.F. Nariman said the parties would have to clarify on reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases and upload this information on their websites.

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The top court also observed that political parties will have to submit a compliance report within 72 hours, to the Election Commission, after selecting candidates having pending criminal cases.

The order from the top court came on a contempt plea filed by Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, raising critical issues due to the increase in criminalisation of politics.

The plea claimed the directions given by the apex court in its September 2018 verdict, which specified guidelines to the disclosure of criminal antecedents by candidates, is not being followed in letter and spirit.

The top court also directed that political parties would have to publish this information on their social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter besides publishing this information in one local vernacular and one national newspaper.

The apex court directed the poll body to apprise the court if it were to come across failure in compliance with its directions.

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