Suggest ways to stop money distribution to voters: Madras HC

The advocate also said that even though such cases are being registered every year, there have been no convictions.
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court
Madurai Bench of Madras High Court(File photo | Express)

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to offer suggestions, if any, to effectively prevent the distribution of money to voters.

Hearing a petition seeking to quash the proceedings pending in a 2011 case on the charge of distributing money to voters, an advocate, R Anand, submitted to the court that most FIRs registered for such offences were not reaching the court, and final reports were being filed only in selective cases. The advocate also said that even though such cases are being registered every year, there have been no convictions.

The petitioners, facing charges of distributing money to voters in 2011 under Section 171 (E) of the IPC, filed petitions seeking to quash the proceedings pending against them as the final reports of the case were filed beyond the period of limitations.

Appointing Anand as amicus curiae in the matter, Justice B Pugalendhi, to ascertain the mechanism that is in place for effective prosecution of the cases, directed the government advocate for the SEC to obtain the details on the number of cases registered in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and 2021 Assembly election concerning the distribution of money or bribe to voters. The judge also sought details on the current stage of the cases and details of convictions, if any. “The SEC must explain how they are following up cases registered for electoral offences,” he said.

The judge opined that though cases were registered for bribery, it appeared that penal actions for the offence are not effective. “In the petition the court is dealing with, the case was registered in 2011 for the distribution of money, but final reports were filed after 10 years,” the judge said.

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