RK Nagar election: Tough penalty for poll bribe

It is punishable with imprisonment up to one year. Any conviction for the offence will automatically disqualify the person for a minimum period of six years under the Representation of the People Act,

Published: 10th April 2017 02:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th April 2017 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

AIADMK(A) candidate for RK Nagar bypoll T T V Dhinakaran campaigning in front of a church at New Washermenpet | ashwin prasath, Martin Louis

By Express News Service

It is punishable with imprisonment up to one year. Any conviction for the offence will automatically disqualify the person for a minimum period of six years under the Representation of the People Act, says Election Commission

CHENNAI: Justifying its decision to rescind the RK Nagra Assembly elections, the Election Commission of India said it received many complaints on the possibilities of inducement of voters by distributing cash and gifts in innovative forms like tokens, prepaid phone recharge coupons, newspaper subscription, milk tokens, money transfer in no-frill accounts in banks and even mobile wallet payment to mobile numbers. The ECI had put an elaborate system for prevention of any such malpractices
Apart from cash, various items such as lamps, T-shirts, silver plates, mobile phones and sarees, which were used for distribution to workers were also seized.

Flagging the Income tax department’s report following its raids on the premises Health Minister C Vijaya Basker, Samathuva Makkal Katchi chief Sarathkumar and Director of Health Services (TN) and Vice Chancellor of Dr MGR Medical University Dr S Geetha Lakshmi, the ECI said it had alleged large-scale bribery of voters.

 DMDK’s Vijayakanth campaigning for his party candidate P Mathivanan, on Sunday | ashwin prasath, Martin Louis

Stating that the election law seriously frowns upon the acts of ‘bribery’ at elections, it said those indulging in such acts face severe penalties under the law.
“The ‘bribery’ at elections to any person with the object of inducing him or any other person to exercise any electoral right or, even inducing or attempting to induce any person to exercise any such right, is an electoral offence under section 171B of the Indian Penal Code, and is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term extending up to one year or, with fine, or with both. Any conviction for the offence of ‘bribery’, even if resulting in the imposition of a very nominal fine, will automatically disqualify the convicted person for a minimum period of six years under section 8(1) of Representation of the People Act, 1951.

“Further, such ‘bribery’ at elections is also a corrupt practice under section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which can result in the election of the returned candidate being declared void and the candidate found guilty of commission of such corrupt practice can also be disqualified by the President on the recommendation of the Commission for a further period of six years. The above provisions in the law, making ‘bribery’ an electoral offence and also a corrupt practice, have been made with the manifest object of ensuring purity of the election process. Purity of electoral process has been placed at higher pedestal than even the secrecy of ballot, which is considered to be sacrosanct in democratic elections,” the Commission said in its order.

Dhinakaran faction denies Media Reports

Chennai: The T T V DHINAKARAN faction of the AIADMK has claimed that the documents doing the rounds in the media, showing the AIADMK (A) in bad light, were ‘false’. In separate media notes, the AIADMK (A) presidium chairman KA Sengottaiyan and fisheries wing secretary D Jayakumar claimed that the ‘false documents’ were a ploy to keep the faction from succeeding in the RK Nagar by-polls and were driven by political motives. “The fake news has been circulated by those who do not have faith in the democratic system,” said the release by Sengottaiyan, adding that the party’s victory in the RK Nagar by polls was inevitable. The note asked the people of RK Nagar and the public in general not to believe the reports. “The Chief Minister, Ministers and party administrators are not in anyway associated with the fake document that has been published by the media,” the media note by D Jayakumar stated.

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