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  • Be N By IAS, Delhi
  • 08, Nov 2020
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Bihar polls: Supreme Court notice to CEC, others on contempt plea

For : GS-2: Polity


  • THE SUPREME Court has issued notice to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and political party leaders on a contempt plea alleging lapses in publication of criminal antecedents of candidates who contested in the Bihar assembly elections last year.


  • Petition of Contempt of Court: It was contended that the respondents were in “wilful disobedience” of the court’s directions in a February 2020 order regarding such publication.
  • Notice issued: Besides CEC Arora, notices were issued to Chief Electoral Officer for Bihar H R Srinivas, JD(U) leader K C Tyagi, RJD’s Jagdanand Singh, LJP’s Abdul Khalik, Congress’s R S Surjewala and BJP’s B L Santosh.


  • The SC order mandated political parties to upload details of criminal cases against candidates fielded in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls on
    • Their websites besides
    • A local vernacular newspaper and
    • A national newspaper and
    • Social media accounts.


  • In 2018, the SC delivered its judgement in the Electoral Disqualification case. The Court had to decide if persons ought to be disqualified from membership in legislative bodies when criminal charges are framed against them.
    • Currently Section 8 of the Representation of Peoples Act only disqualifies persons when they are convicted of criminal charges.
  • The five-judge Bench unanimously decided that it cannot disqualify candidates, against whom criminal charges have been framed, from contesting elections.
    • The Bench cited respect for the seperation of powers.
    • It recognized that it cannot introduce new rules regarding the disqualification of electoral candidates.
  • Verdict: The Bench asked Parliament to make a law that prevents candidates accused of serious crimes from entering politics.
  • Directions: The Court issued the following directions:
    1. Candidates must fill up forms containing all particulars
    2. In said forms, criminal antecedents to be stated in bold
    3. Candidates must inform the concerned political party of pending criminal cases against them
    4. Concerned political party to put up such criminal antecedents of candidates on party website.
    5. Wide publicity by both candidates and parties in press and media of the criminal antecedents. Wide publication meaning at least thrice after filing of nominations


Constitutional and Statutory Provisions:

  • The adoption of the Constitution of India made Contempt of Court one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
  • Article 129 of the Constitution of India conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself.
  • Under Article 215, the High Courts have been conferred with the power to punish contempt of itself.
  • The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gives statutory backing to the Contempt of Court.

Types of Contempt of Court:

  • The Contempt of Court Act 1971 has provided that contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt.
  • The Act defines civil contempt as willful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ, or another process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
  • The criminal contempt is defined under the 1971 Act as the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:
    • Scandalizes or tends to scandalize, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
    • Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
    • Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner

SOURCE: Indian Express


Q. Regarding publication of criminal antecedents of candidates in elections, Political Parties have to upload details of criminal cases against candidates fielded in Lok Sabha and Assembly polls on

  1. Their websites
  2. A local vernacular newspaper
  3. A national newspaper
  4. Social media accounts

Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  • a) 1 and 2 Only
  • b) 1 and 3 Only
  • c) 1, 2 and 3 Only
  • d) 1, 2, 3 and 4