PUDUCHERRY: Pudhiya Sindhanai,a social organization has urged the president of India to amend the provision of clause 171(e) of the Indian Penal Code to make punishment for bribing a voter stringent though imprisonment for a minimum period of three years and maximum ten years and impose a fine of Rs. One lakh or both.
In a letter to addressed to the President of India , N Balamurugan, president of the organization said that if the punishment was made stringent ,non-bailable and triable by court, no one will come forward to bribe any voter during elections.
He said while enacting Representation of Peoples Act 1951,the legislature would not even thought that bribing a voter would play a vital role in later days and it will slowly endanger the democracy and destroy our country. This offence of bribing a voter is equal to rape and murder, but very meagre punishment is being given for this and hence, no one is worried or bothered of committing this offence,he said .The punishment clause is the only reason why the election commission could not eradicate the menace of bribing voters, he added.
With the elections approaching in Puducherry, the aspects of bribing voter or make him refrain from voting during elections has to be dealt with firmly. No political party or candidate will directly involve himself in handing over money to a voters, but will do it through a respectable and reliable person.
This person distributing the money does not have any fear on the Representation of people’s act for the reason that the punishment of the particular offence of bribing voters is very lenient. As per the present act, “ Whoever commits the offence of bribery shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both “ and the offence is cognizable , bailable and triable by nay magistrate. Hence the person even if he is caught red handed distributing money will be released within an hour from his arrest and thereafter he can get himself released on payment of fine before the court .