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Screening of candidates ......

Members of Election Watch Sreening Committee

Screening of Potential Candidates

  1. Response Format :

    Public response should contain four parts.

    1. The details of the Informant :

             Name *

             Age

             Education

             Address *

             Constituency

             Phone No.*

      (* Optional. If name and address are given, they will be kept confidential.)

    2. The details of the Potential / Prospective Candidate :

             Name

             Address

             Constituency

             Brief Bio-data

             Party

    3. Criminal / Corrupt record :

             Details of cases with case numbers, police station, court etc.

             Offences of which the person is accused

             Convictions- with details, if any

             Cases pending - with details

             History sheet details

             Rowdy sheet details

             Any other information

    4. Enclosures :

             Documents - original or photocopy in support of the information given above

  2. Responses to be addressed to :

    Election Watch
    Lok Satta
    Post Box No. 100
    Hyderabad - 500 004

  3. Collection and Storage

    The mail will be cleared every day by Lok Satta Volunteers. At least two volunteers will visit the Post Office and clear the mail. All responses will be kept in sealed canvas bags specially made for the purpose. Until the responses are opened they will be stored at one of the following places.

    1. Lok Satta Election Watch Office or
    2. If more storage space is required - at Lok Satta Office in Punjagutta, Hyderabad - 500 082.
  4. Opening of Letters/ Envelops

    The mail will be opened once a week or more often as determined by the screening committee. The members of the screening committee, press and media persons and representatives of political parties will be present.

    The mail will be opened at a suitable venue, say FAPCCI Meeting Hall in the presence of media and Political Party Representatives. However the actual information received will be kept confidential at this stage.

  5. Tabulation of Information

    The initial screening will be done in camera by a core of volunteers under the supervision of the Screening Committee. Volunteers will be drawn from the judiciary (retired), lawyers, retired civil servants and police officials, teachers and media persons.

  6. Criteria for Scrutiny
    1. Criminal Record
      1. Conviction for offences listed under sections 8, 8A and 9 of Representation of the People Act, 1951. (Annexure -1 )
      2. Charges framed by a competent court after preliminary enquiry - in respect of offences listed under sections 8 and 8A of RP Act, 1951 - until they are acquitted.
      3. History sheets opened against convicted persons under Standing Orders 733, 734 and 736 of A.P.Police Standing Orders. (Annexure -2)
      4. Rowdy sheets opened against persons classified as rowdies under S.O. 742 of A.P.Police Standing Orders. (Annexure - 3)
    2. Corruption Record
      1. Specific allegations on the floor of the Assembly or Parliament, and the explanations of the individual concerned
      2. Specific allegations in the press with supporting evidence, and the explanations of the individual
      3. Conviction in a court of law for corruption or misappropriation or embezzlement or cheating
      4. Charges pending in respect of above offences
      5. If a public servant present or past, disciplinary action taken or pending against the person
      6. If a public servant present or past, departmental enquiries pending or completed
      7. The assets of the person before entering public office or politics and the assets now, and the known sources of income
      8. The known income, and lifestyle and expenditure
  7. Guidelines for Recommendations.
    • The responses received will be carefully recorded and scrutinized by a corps of volunteers under the supervision of the screening committee.
    • If specific information is provided with documentary evidence, such cases will be automatically considered by the screening committee.
    • If information is specific, but no documents are enclosed, reasonable efforts will be made to obtain evidence (case records from courts, history sheets from police stations etc).
    • If there are number of credible allegations by many persons against any individual, reasonable efforts will be made to gather specific evidence.
    • All other cases will be ignored if there is no specific information.
    • The cases in which specific information and evidence is available will be short-listed and placed before the Screening Committee with all details.
    • The Screening Committee will go through the information, and will make a recommendation on the basis of facts available. The committee may seek further information if necessary.
    • If the Screening Committee concludes that there is reasonable assumption of criminal or corrupt record, then such names with all details and committee proceedings will be sent to the political party and to the persons concerned.
    • All recommendations will be made by consensus and if no consensus is possible, majority view will prevail.
  8. Communication of Recommendations
    • In respect of cases in which the Screening Committee recommends communication to political parties, a registered Acknowledgement Due letter will be sent to the Party President at the national level with a copy each to the state party president or chief and to the individual concerned. (draft letter in Annexure - 4)
    • The letter will outline the information received in respect of the person and the evidence to suggest a criminal or corrupt record.

      The letter will appeal to the party not to nominate such a person as a candidate for public office until charges are cleared or satisfactory evidence is produced to prove the innocence of the prospective candidate. Such evidence of innocence should be made public to clear all doubts.

    • The individual should be informed that he/she has the opportunity to present his/her case personally or in writing. The Screening Committee will consider the evidence furnished by the individual and if the committee concludes that there is no evidence of criminal or corrupt record, such person's name will be cleared, and the party will be informed accordingly in writing.
    • All correspondence will be signed by the Chairman of Screening Committee or any other person(s) authorized by the committee.
    • The Screening Committee is only determining as a public body of reputed citizens whether there is a criminal or corrupt record. The committee is not accusing any citizen, nor does it determine the guilt of a person. The correspondence should make this clear.
    • The party should be told that if the party or individual concerned fails to establish that there is no criminal or corrupt record, and yet the individual is nominated as a candidate for public office, the entire record will be made public.
  9. Making Recommendations Public
    • If the party or person concerned furnishes information and evidence to establish that the person has no criminal or corrupt record, and can disprove the evidence already available to the Screening Committee, then the committee will consider such information and evidence.
    • The committee is not an adjudicating body, and all proceedings will be summary in nature. No detailed examination is necessary.
    • If the party or person fails to rebut evidence and prove that no criminal or corrupt record exists, and if such a person is nominated by a party for public office, then all relevant information will be sent to the Election Commission, the Chief Electoral Officer, the Returning Officer and the State Election Commission for their information and record. This information will be subsequently made public by the Screening Committee.
    • Adequate copies will be made of the relevant information and documents, and they will be furnished to the media along with a brief statement. Widest possible publicity will be given to the facts of the case.
    • Public should be told of the procedure, and of the fact that the Election Watch Screening Committee has informed the party in advance, and had appealed for the nomination of any other person with no criminal or corrupt record.
    • Such procedure is followed in respect of all parties, and there is neither partisan interest nor prejudice in making the information public.
    • The public should be appealed to reject candidates with criminal or corrupt record, irrespective of party affiliation or caste, religion and regional considerations.
  10. Information Storage
    • All information received will be stored in a computer. The name of the informant shall be kept secret.
    • The name of the person in respect of whom information was received will be kept secret except while informing the party upon screening committee's recommendation, and the details will be made public only if the person is nominated for public office.
    • The original information and documents will be stored for a period of three years, until the statute of limitations no longer applies.
    • In respect of persons who are politically active, the information and documents will be stored as long as Lok Satta Election Watch feels it is necessary in public interest.
    • The storage of information will be the responsibility of Lok Satta.
    • Any future Election Watch Screening Committee will have unrestricted access to such records in furtherance of its objectives.
Registered Post - Ack. Due

Annexure - 4

Draft Communication to the party and the person

Lok Satta Election Watch

Screening Committee
-------------------------
Chairman,
------------------------
Coordinator
Hyderabad
Date :____________

As part of its campaign for free and fair elections, and better choice of candidates, Lok Satta Election Watch has constituted a Screening Committee to scrutinize the possible criminal/corrupt record of prospective candidates. Wide publicity was given to this and political parties have been taken into confidence.

The Screening Committee is not an adjudicating body, and it does not make any accusation against any one. The Committee, composed of highly respected, non-partisan citizens with wide experience, scrutinises the information and evidence furnished by the public and makes a recommendation in respect of individuals against whom there is evidence of criminal/corrupt record.

Accordingly, in its meeting held on ------- the Screening Committee has concluded that the available evidence suggests a record of criminality/corruption against ___________________________. ------------- . The committee understands that he/she is a prospective candidate for public office on behalf of your party.

The evidence produced before the committee is as follows.

(Copies enclosed)

We urge you not to consider ________________________ for nomination to public office until his/her name is cleared by a competent court. If you have information or evidence disproving the evidence enclosed, you may please bring it to the committee's notice immediately so that it can be taken into consideration by them. A copy of this letter along with enclosures is being sent to the individual concerned, so that he/she can present his case to the committee similarly. If no intimation is received from you or the individual, the committee will presume that there is no material to counter the evidence presented before it already.

The name of the person, and the relevant information are kept confidential at this stage. However, if no material is furnished to disprove the evidence available, and if the person is nominated for public office, then the Lok Satta Election Watch Screening Committee will be constrained to place all relevant facts before the people, and leave it to their good sense and judgement.

We have no partisan interest whatsoever in this exercise, and therefore we are bringing to your notice all facts available to the screening committee in advance. We urge you to nominate any suitable candidate for public office, and not to consider those with a record of criminality and corruption. As a party committed to cleansing politics and improving honesty and probity in public life, we are confident that you will act with integrity and honour, in keeping with public interest and highest standards of morality and propriety.

Yours sincerely,

(Signature)

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