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Report No. 244

(ii) Cut-off period

An apprehension was raised that introducing such a disqualification will lead to a spate of false cases in which charges might be framed immediately prior to an election with the sole intention of disqualifying a candidate. This is sought to be offset by a cut-off period before the date of scrutiny of nomination for an election, charges filed during which period, will not attract disqualification. The basis for this distinction is clear- to prevent false cases being filed against political candidates. The question that arises is with regard to the duration of this cut-off period.

NCRWC recommended that disqualification should commence on the expiry of one year from the date of framing of charges. Election Commission Proposal of 2004 and Second Administrative Review Commission Report (Ethics in Governance) of 2008 called for disqualification in those cases which were filed prior to six months before an election.

Further at the Consultation, a seeming consensus emerged that the cut-off period should be one year from the date of scrutiny of the nomination, i.e. charges filed during the one year period will not lead to disqualification. We feel that one year is an appropriate time-frame. It is long enough so that false charges which may be filed specifically to disqualify candidates will not lead to such disqualification; at the same time it is not excessively long which would have made such disqualification redundant.

It thus allows every contesting candidate at minimum a one year period to get discharged. It thus strikes an appropriate balance between enlarging the scope of disqualification while at the same time seeks to dis-incentivise the filing of false cases solely with the view to engineer disqualification.

Electoral Disqualifications Back

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