Nomination paper should be rejected for incomplete info: EC to SC

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Returning Officer should be empowered to reject the nomination paper of a candidate who provides incomplete information by leaving some columns blank in the document.
 
The EC said providing no information and keeping the column blank stands on a different footing by writing either 'nil' or 'not applicable' in nomination papers.
 
"If a candidate leaves the column blank, the Returning Officer should be allowed to reject the nomination paper," advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for the EC, submitted before a bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai.
 
She said leaving the column blank confers suppression of facts by the candidates.
 
"If no information is provided in the prescribed column, it stands on different footing," she said.
 
However, senior advocate A Mariarputham, appearing for the Centre, said the right to contest election is a statutory right and there is a judgement of the three-judge bench of the apex court that even for concealing the information, the nomination paper cannot be rejected.
 
When the Centre raised the issue of the three-judge judgement, the CJI adjourned the matter saying it will hear it tomorrow when the bench will consist of three judges.
 
However, before deferring the matter for tomorrow, the bench wanted to know from the Centre "why does one leave the column vacant? Why should the form be incomplete? What is the view of the Union of India? We feel you are opposing the plea." 
 
The court was hearing a PIL filed in 2008 by Resurgence India, a civil rights group, which detected a trend among candidates of leaving blank the columns demanding critical information about them.