‘Judiciary, EC slow to act against poll misconduct’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘Judiciary, EC slow to act against poll misconduct’

The government on Saturday slammed the Election Commission and the judiciary for “going slow” on cases of electoral misconduct registered against candidates and political parties during elections, reports Nagendar Sharma.

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2009 01:09 IST
Nagendar Sharma

The government on Saturday slammed the Election Commission and the judiciary for “going slow” on cases of electoral misconduct registered against candidates and political parties during elections.

“What do you (EC) do after the elections? Thereafter, I think the cases are not pursued. The defaulters are not prosecuted. This is the area the EC will have to apply its mind,” Moily said at a seminar on electoral reforms.

“Is there one instance where the EC has investigated and disqualified a candidate?” he remarked in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Navin Chawla.

He expressed displeasure at the long delays in courts in cases of election misconduct. “The judiciary takes its own sweet time. Till the next term is over, they will not dispose of the case,” Moily said.

The government is willing to give more powers to the EC, including a new law to help the poll panel for quick disposal of such cases “to put the fear of law in minds of mischievous elements,” the minister said.

“Whatever the support of law is required, I am there to make the law. You want the power, we will give you the power,” he said.

He, however, put the onus of solving the problem on both the EC and the judiciary. “Somebody has to be accountable on what happens to the cases registered during elections. We will provide help, but enforcement is your job,” Moily said.

“I don't think the EC is that disabled to enforce this...otherwise people will have no fear of law,” the minister said.

POLL RIGHTS FOR UNDERTRIALS

On the demand raised by CEC Chawla that undertrials lodged in jails and those in police custody should be allowed to vote, Moily said the government is prepared to consider the demand.

“It is surprising that the undertrials are allowed to contest elections but do not have the right to vote, according to the Representation of People’s Act,” Chawla said.

The CEC said such a denial of right “is hardly justified”. Chawla said :“I am of the view that the entire matter needs to be reviewed.”

Moily said the demand appeared to be justified. “The thrust should be on encouraging people to take part in a democratic exercise and not to deprive them,” he said.