COIMBATORE: Though possession of two voter identity cards is an offence punishable with imprisonment and fine, hundreds of people living in the border areas of Tamil Nadu and Kerala have two of them.
Express is in possession of the names of some people with voters ID cards for the assembly seats of Kinathukadavu (Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu) and Chittur (Palakkad district, Kerala).
This information was obtained through RTI queries by social activist Premjith K. Such people generally own lands and houses in both the states. He has sent complaints about the matter to the Election Commissioner and other officials concerned.
According to Premjith, elected local-body representatives often help them obtain a second ID card for political gains, knowing well that it is an offence.
Possession of two voter ID cards is a criminal offence under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Those who have voter ID cards from two places can be jailed for a year or fined or awarded both punishments, PA to Coimbatore Collector (Election) Chidambaram P told Express.
As per Section 31 of the Representation of the People Act, any person keeping two voter ID cards has to mention the number and place of both cards to the election officer concerned and declare which of them he/she wants to retain, he said.
The Election Commission’s National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP), which aims at making the electoral list cent percent free of multiple entries and other errors, also has not been able to track these anomalies.
Asked about it, Coimbatore Collector Archana Patnaik told Express, “Investigations will be conducted in this matter. The Kerala election officials concerned will also be informed of it. I think all such problems will be solved through NERPAP, but with the details in hand, it will be easier for us to trace the offenders. Strict action will be taken against them.”
Linking Aadhaar numbers to the voter ID cards will help officials to discover such frauds, she said. However, the process is taking time and the Election Commission has not yet been able to complete the work.
Premjith, who collected the details through RTI queries said panchayat representatives entice people with available government incentives even when they have a voter ID card of the neighbouring state. “They do all the work to obtain the ID card at their own cost. All that they want is that they must vote for them,” he said.