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Awaiting law ministry nod on poll reforms: Election Commission

The Election Commission is waiting for the law ministry to take a call on a slew of proposals put forth by it to decriminalise elections and check the use of graft to impact poll outcome.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2016 00:23 IST
HT Correspondent
A polling officer marks the finger of a voter with indelible ink at a polling station in Bangalore.
A polling officer marks the finger of a voter with indelible ink at a polling station in Bangalore. (File Photo)

The Election Commission is waiting for the law ministry to take a call on a slew of proposals put forth by it to decriminalise elections and check the use of graft to impact poll outcome.

Delivering his inaugural address at the National Interactive Conference on Electoral Laws — Strategic Vision for Future Laws on Saturday, chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said proposals pertaining to decriminalisation of politics, prevention of abuse of money, transparency in funding of political parties among others, are being scrutinised by a task force set up by the ministry.

The ministry recently turned down the commission’s demand for powers to countermand polls in case of bribery as is allowed in booth capturing cases.

While law ministry sources said the suggestion has not been accepted since it is difficult to prove bribery, EC officials said they will urge them to reconsider the proposal.

“We feel that there should be well defined electoral laws rather than using residuary powers under Art 324 frequently,” Zaidi said.

He added that the ECI will not hesitate to invoke Article 324 in the “ interest of purity of election.”

During the assembly polls in Tamil Nadu in May 2016, elections in two constituencies were cancelled after the Election Commission found misuse of money during the elections . “The EC soon thereafter proposed amendment in RP Act to have a mirror provision in the law on parallel of countermanding of elections on account of booth capturing,” Zaidi said.