Warning political parties, candidates, individuals and organisations, the State Election Commission has asked law enforcement authorities to maintain a strict vigil during the electioneering period, to ensure prevention of disfigurement/defacement of public and private property.
State Election Commissioner, Uddipta Ray, urged the Puducherry administration to take prompt action so that the State government can ensure an atmosphere conducive for the conduct of free and fair elections.
The SEC urged the Collectors of Puducherry/Karaikal to invoke the provisions of the Pondicherry Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement) Act 2000 and issue necessary notification in connection with the prevention of defacement of public, private places, halls, auditoriums, vehicles and other campaign related items.
“No government department/local bodies/agencies/corporation/boards shall issue permission to any one to erect banners, posters of any kind during the election period without the specific approval of the District Collectors.”
The State Election Commission urged that all the heads of departments/offices should ensure that no defacement of any kind has been made in and around their office premises, and incase of defacement, they will take immediate action to remove those.
Flying squads, mobilised using the manpower from revenue department may swing into action immediately to identify and remove all kinds of defacements done by various political parties.
The State Election Commission further said in its directive: In case defacements have been made without permission of the owners/ occupiers, the authorities of squads may be requested to ask the party/persons responsible to remove the same, giving them a short time limit and in case of their failure, lodge a complaint with the police station of their area, under section 4 (B) (vii) of the Police (Puducherry Amendment) Act, 1966. Action may also be taken under the provisions of the POPPD Act 2000.
“In case of defacement of the buildings of Central/State/cooperatives etc, it should be brought to the notice of the officer in charge of the building, who will arrange for its removal by the party/person, who made it, failing which the officer should lodge a complaint/FIR with the police station of the area, with the intimation to the District Election officer/District Magistrate concerned,” the Directive further states.