The Supreme Court will hear on April 22 a petition seeking direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to prosecute voters who are involved in electoral malpractices during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has posted the matter for further hearing on April 22.
The petition, filed by Karnataka-based society Lancha Muktha Karnataka Nirmana Vedike, through advocate KV Dhananjay, said that "it is an offence for a voter to demand or receive money or gratification to cast or otherwise deal with his vote."
"It is an offence for any person to attempt to impersonate another voter inside a polling booth, regardless of whether the attempt is successful or not."
It submitted that the Election Commission of India should exercise powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and ask poll personnel to prosecute voters who indulge in electoral malpractices.
The petition said that the Election Commission of India sends out voluminous directives repeatedly to its personnel with a public claim of securing a free and fair election - without recognising that its practice of not prosecuting voters for voter induced fraud essentially frustrates most of those directives.
"The voluminous manuals or directives issued by the Election Commission of India do not possess the quality of independently securing a free and fair election so long as voters consider themselves free to obtain a bribe to vote for or against any person," it added.
"The Parliament of India has empowered the Election Commission of India through the enactment of the Representation of People Act and various Rules and Regulations made there under and these laws and provisions would stand frustrated so long as the Election Commission refuses to enforce the provisions to punish voters for voter-induced fraud," the petition said.
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