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EC Wants 5-year Ban on Candidates Chargesheeted for Bribing Voters

Edited By: Huma Tabassum

News18.com

Last Updated: April 30, 2017, 23:18 IST

File photo of the Election Commission of India building in New Delhi.

File photo of the Election Commission of India building in New Delhi.

The Election Commission is set to ask the government to amend laws to disqualify candidates named in chargesheets for bribing candidates, PTI reported on Sunday.

New Delhi: The Election Commission is set to ask the government to amend laws to disqualify candidates named in chargesheets for bribing candidates, PTI reported on Sunday.

The move comes days after the poll panel cancelled bypolls in the RK Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu over widespread use of money power, allegedly by TTV Dinakaran, the candidate of the pro-Sasikala faction of the AIADMK. The bypoll, which was to be held on April 12, was necessitated following the demise of J Jayalalithaa.

The poll watchdog has decided to write to the Law Ministry seeking changes in the Representation of the People Act to ensure that candidates contesting Lok Sabha and assembly polls are disqualified for up to five years once they are chargesheeted by a court, sources in the poll panel told PTI.

In its lengthy order cancelling the RK Nagar bypoll, the commission had pointed out that political parties and their top leaders used "innovative ways" in bribing voters to outwit law enforcement authorities mandated with keeping an eye on poll expenditure.

Many complaints were received by the commission on possibilities of inducement of electors 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, PTI reported.

Earlier, the poll panel had asked the government to give it power under the election law to countermand an election where money power is used. At present, the Election Comission can countermand an election following use of muscle power.

It can use its constitutional powers under Article 324 to countermand a poll over use of money power, but it wants the power to be vested to it under law. The logic is that it does not want to use its constitutional powers too frequently.

(With PTI inputs)
first published:April 30, 2017, 10:04 IST
last updated:April 30, 2017, 23:18 IST