Thiruvananthapuram: Candidates contesting from various Lok Sabha seats in Kerala have published details of the criminal cases against them following a directive from the Election Commission (EC). Chief electoral officer of Kerala Teeka Ram Meena had made it clear that failure to do so would invite action for contempt of court and that election petitions could be admitted over the matter.
As per the details made available, the candidate facing the highest number of criminal cases in Kerala is NDA's nominee for Pathanamthitta K Surendran. Surendran, who has 240 cases, published the details in a four-page advertisement in the BJP mouthpiece Janmabhumi. Sections dealing with murder attempt, bid for rioting, group clashes, issuing threats, destruction of public property, obstructing officials and discrediting others have been invoked against him. The BJP leader is facing legal procedures in all districts. The number of cases against Surendran in each district is as follows: Kasaragod - 33, Kannur-1, Kozhikode - 2, Wayanad - 1, Malappuram - 1, Thrissur - 6, Ernakulam - 13, Idukki - 16, Alappuzha - 55, Kottayam - 8, Pathanamthitta - 31, Kollam - 68, Thiruvananthapuram - 5 and Palakkad - 1.
Meanwhile, Desabhimani published details of cases against 9 LDF candidates on Friday and its nominee for Vadakara P Jayarajan heads the list with 11 criminal cases. CPM’s P K Sreemathi contesting from Kannur follows with 10 cases.
Candidates of other parties having several cases against them include Dean Kuriakose, the Congress candidate for Idukki, with 109; NDA’s Sobha Surendran fighting from Attingal with 40 and NDA’s Kozhikode nominee Prakash Babu with 17.
The seat where candidates with no cases are contesting is Kottayam. Both LDF’s V N Vasavan and UDF’s Thomas Chazhikadan have not been charged with a single case. However, NDA’s P C Thomas has two cases against him. He has followed the EC’s directive and published a newspaper ad in this regard.
Print and TV ads
According to the EC, candidates facing criminal cases have to publish ads in the specific format in major newspapers of the area on 3 different days. Ads also have to be shown on leading TV channels on 3 days. The print ad should be of minimum 12 points font size and easily readable.
On TV, the font should be of sufficient size that it could be read. Each TV ad should last at least 7 seconds and has to be displayed between 8 am and 10 pm. The language could be either English or the regional tongue. The print ad should appear by April 21 and TV ad before 6 pm that day.
The cost for these ads should be included in the election expenses of the candidate. If the political party is bearing the cost, the amount will be accounted in its expenses. Parties should also issue the ads in the C4 and C5 format forms.
All these facts should be true. If not, election petitions and legal actions, including contempt of court, may have to be faced. The EC issued the directive to publish the ads based on a verdict of the Supreme Court delivered on September 9, last year. As per the procedure, the returning officer will hand over C3 form to the candidate when the nomination is filed. It informs the candidate that the ad should be published. Details regarding the party or organizations the candidate represents, constituency, court, section of case, punishment etc. have to be published. The ads should appear two days before the day of voting in newspapers and 48 hours earlier on TV.
Political parties should display these details in their websites also.