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Stressing that it is important to get rid of criminals in the electoral process, Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi said the law must bar such a candidate from contesting. “People ask me, why can’t you debar a candidate from contesting. We cannot do that. The law must debar them,” Quraishi said at a lecture organised by Moneylife Foundation and V Citizens Action Network (VCAN).
“The law says a person is innocent until proven guilty. I would like to ask, if fundamental rights are curtailed for undertrials, why not stop politicians who have criminal cases pending against them from voting and contesting in elections, which is a fundamental right,” he asked. Quraishi also pointed out that the issue of unregulated money flow in elections is a pressing one. “No candidate is spending white money, but black money. I don’t know how state sponsorship of elections will solve the problem. The moment a minister comes to power, his target is to recover the money he had spent in the election. He convinces the bureaucracy to help him, and the people have to pay for them,” he said.