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PIL on awareness against ‘cash for votes’ rejected
The High Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation seeking to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) to display prominently in all polling booths that offering and receiving cash for votes is a crime punishable under law.
A division bench, comprising Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, dismissed the plea after a submission by ECI counsel Niranjan Rajagopal that besides action on such offenders, necessary campaigns have already been initiated and pamphlets were also being distributed among the public cautioning them against receiving cash for votes.
Advocate A P Suryaprakasam in his PIL submitted that the ‘practice’ of cash for votes was rampant going by the huge seizures made and that the Election Commission was duty bound to educate voters against receiving cash for votes and that both the giver and receiver would be prosecuted for such an offence. Suryaprakasam also sought action against candidates who offered cash to women who took ‘aarthi’- a traditional gesture of welcome. This, he said was happening under the very nose of the ECI authorities.
His plea also sought for action against the ruling AIADMK for violating the model code of conduct by announcing a Rs 2,000 cash dole to poor families in its manifesto. He said the announcement tantamount to not only coercing the voters, but also offering a veiled threat seeking the votes of the poor.
However, the bench having dealt with a similar plea in another petition set aside the arguments put forth in this regard.