Electoral Reforms Are Long-Awaited: Supreme Court

New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday accepted that electoral reforms are “long awaited” but refused to entertain a PIL of several eminent citizens, including former air chief S Krishnaswamy and top cop Julio F Ribeiro, seeking a direction to Election Commission to verify details of persons contesting polls.

The apex court also said poll reforms have to be carried out by the legislature but simultaneously expressed apprehension that they may not do it.

“The election reforms are long awaited. Only they (legislature) can make law, but we know that they will not do this,” the bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.

Terming the task of verifying details including assets of candidates as “cumbersome”, the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit, said it was for Parliament to act, as the court cannot ask the Election Commission to undertake this exercise.

At the outset, the court said, “how do you expect the Election Commission to go on verifying details of thousands and thousands of candidates…”.

The bench then asked counsel for Ribeiro and others to make a representation before the poll panel and other authorities concerned and allowed them to withdraw the plea.

“Persuade them outside the court. Let us see how they respond,” it said.

Besides Ribeiro, twelve others including former CAG Vijay K Shunglu, former Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, former DGP Prakash Singh and ex-IIT Director S K Dubey had co-petitioned the apex court on the issue.