RK Nagar Election: It's Time to Punish Voters Who Took Bribes

April 21, 2017, Chennai

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Chennai, April 21:  First time in the country a public interest litigation, filed in the Madras high court, has sought to haul up the Election Commission of India for its failure to lodge complaints against bribe-taking voters.

Several questions has been raised against Election commission's inability to conduct RK Nagar bypoll without money power.

RK Nagar bypolls that were scheduled fo April 12 were cancelled due to IT raids over 30 locations in Tamil Nadu .  This IT Raid reveals that more than 85 crores had been distributed for voters/residents of RK Nagar as bribes, ahead of the election. We also came across several videos with unidentified party workers distributing money to residents. Reports saying that atleast two lakh voters out of 2.4 lakh eligible voters had been given Rs 4000 each. 

The PIL has been filed by Arun Natarajan, who belonged to an organisation which campaigned against corrupt poll practices. Citing Section 171(b) of the IPC which clearly holds bribe-takers as well as bribe givers equally guilty of the offence of bribery, senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram argued. 

Referring to the Election Commission reports and complaints lodged in this regard, Nalini Chidambaram said they all mentioned only about bribe-givers and not a word was said about bribe-takers, who too are equally guilty of the offence. Some complaints spoke about door numbers where cash, saris and household articles were distributed, but no voter has been mentioned in the complaint.

The Election Commission should have have booked at least 10,000 bribe-taking voters, she said, adding that it showed the constitutional body's utter ignorance of law. The Election Commission missed a golden opportunity and is guilty of dereliction of duty, Nalini said.