The legal department of the Election Commission of India is formulating rules to implement the Supreme Court’s order that declares using religion, caste and creed for seeking votes a corrupt electoral practice.
Chief election commissioner Naseem Zaidi on Wednesday said the order will be implemented with immediate effect as the announcement of state polls brought into effect the election code of conduct.
“Section 123 of the Representation of People will be evoked. Our election machinery will come down on heavily under the law,” Zaidi said.
In a majority verdict, the Supreme Court on Monday held that any appeal for votes on the ground of “religion, race, caste, community or language” amounted to “corrupt practice” under the election law provision.
Referring to the term ‘his religion’ used in section 123(3) of the Representation of The Peoples (RP) Act, which deals with ‘corrupt practice’, Chief Justice TS Thakur and three others said the verdict applied to everyone, i.e., the religion and caste of all, including voters, candidates and their agents etc.
The SC order put the onus of implementation on the commission.
Given the high stakes of the state elections, parties and candidates have been freely wooing voters in the name of religion.
Replying to a question, Zaidi said the EC had already banned registration of political party names that were based on a particular caste or religion in 2005.