While the Election Commission is taking stern action against violators for putting up illegal hoardings of political parties after the model code of conduct came into effect, police have adopted a lackadaisical attitude towards cracking the culprits down.
In the past week, two cases have been registered against Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for displaying hoardings, but nothing has been done so far as police claim that the cases were registered against unknown people.
On April 1, a case was registered against unknown people for putting up illegal hoardings of Congress candidate from Anandpur Sahib, Ambika Soni, in Kharar.
On April 17, a similar case was registered for putting hoardings of SAD candidate from the same constituency, Prem Singh Chandumajra, at Kurali Siswan road under section 127 of the Representation of People Act, 1951.
On this, SAS Nagar senior superintendant of police (SSP) Gursharan Singh Sandhu, said, “We try to identity violators and it takes time to complete the investigations. However, that does not mean that we do not take action.”
While the SSP claimed that the process took time, investigating officer Harbhajan Singh admitted to taking the casual approach. Singh, who registered the case on April 17, said, “Cases are registered on the recommendations of district electoral officer. I am not aware about the punishment under the section. In most such cases, we take the casual approach.”
Puneet Goyal, additional district commissioner, SAS Nagar, said, “When we receive complaints, we forward them to police for registration of case. It is them who have to follow up. In case printer’s name is not found on the hoarding, it is difficult for the police to identify who had put the hoardings. However, we have instructed all printers in the district to keep record of hoardings and pamphlets, so that it can be included in the election expenses of the candidates.”
WHAT THE RULE SAYS
Representation of People Act, 1951, says that any person violating the act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to six months or with fine which may extend to ` 2,000, or with both.