Supreme Court on 1 November 2016 ruled that election of a candidate could be set aside for making false declaration on educational qualifications in the nomination paper. It held that the right to vote would be meaningless unless citizens were well-informed about the antecedents of candidates, including their educational qualification.
The ruling came by a bench of Justice A R Dave and Justice L Nageswara Rao while hearing a plea of Mairembam Prithviraj and Pukhrem Sharatchandra Singh against each other challenging the judgment of the High Court of Manipur. The court quashed the election of Manipur Congress MLA, Mairembam Prithviraj, for falsely declaring in his nomination papers that he had an MBA degree.
Earlier, the High Court had declared election of Prithviraj as void. He had contested the 2012 polls from Moirang Assembly seat in Manipur.
Highlights of the observation
• The apex court said all information about a candidate contesting elections must be available in public domain as exposure to public scrutiny was one of the surest means to cleanse the democratic governing system and have competent legislators.
• Placement of information on the public domain would act as an exposure to public scrutiny, which is one of the surest means to cleanse the democratic governing system and have competent legislators.
• It held that voters have a fundamental right to know the academic qualification of a candidate. For the purpose, the court highlighted the provisions of the Act, Rules and Form 26 which says that there is a duty cast on the candidates to give correct information about their educational qualifications.