Crusader Continues Fight Against Poll Malpractice

Published: 07th July 2015 04:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th July 2015 04:52 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Despite being convicted for poll violations, 164 people still have their names in the electoral rolls when they should have been removed as per the Representation of People’s Act.

Continuing his efforts to cleanse the electoral system, Coimbatore-based crusader, M Loganathan, has approached the Chief Electoral Officer for the third time to initiate action on this.

Coordinator of the Federation For Sustainable Development, he filed a representation before CEO Sandeep Saxena on Monday urging him to remove from the electoral rolls the names of 164 persons, convicted for electoral malpractices during the 2011 Assembly elections under Section 11A(1) of the RPA. This is his third petition. The first two were submitted on March 17 and October 9, 2015.

Speaking to Express, Loganathan, an advocate regretted that despite his efforts, the convicted persons continued to be in the electoral rolls. “They might have exercised their franchise in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the by-polls too. This goes against the Election Commission rules”, he said.  Election Department officials had told him that any kind of punishment could be challenged in court and the convicts might have gone on appeal and hence their names might not have been removed from the electoral rolls.  However, he pointed out that 162 convicted persons have paid the penalty imposed by the courts and as such, there was no question of going on appeal.

On Monday, the CEO gave a patient hearing to Loganathan and directed the officials to send his representation of immediately to all District Collectors for their response. The CEO is understood to have set a deadline to the district authorities to respond within a month on the action taken.

According to Section 11A of RPA, any person convicted of an offence punishable under Section 171-E or Section 171 F of Indian Penal Code, or under Section 125 or Section 135, or Clause (a) of sub-section (20 of Section 136 of this Act), the person shall be disqualified from voting in any election  for a period of six years from the date of conviction or from the date on which the order takes effect.

According to Loganathan the information provided in the representation were gathered from the replies given by various police stations across the State through RTI queries and convictions were up to October 2012. “We have had enough number of warnings given to the perpetrators of electoral malpractices. They are of no use. Punishment alone will act a greater deterrent”, he maintained.

His efforts have borne only minimum results. Persons against whom non-bailable warrants have been issued and if the warrants were not executed for more than six months, they are liable to be removed from the electoral rolls. The EC had issued a circular regarding this to CEOs of States which has been sent to District Election Officers (Collectors). Taking it up, Loganathan had sought details of such persons from the SPs in 10 districts and of them only six had replied stating that NBWs could not be executed against 1200 persons for more than six months. Namakkal Collector V Dakshinamoorthy has directed the DRO to take action these persons immediately.

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