Undue influence at elections

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Undue influence is the act physically hurting someone or using force to gain votes for a candidate. In Vanuatu undue influence is a reality. Physical force can be inflicted on partners and family members to gain votes. This type of behaviour is an offence under article 47 of the Representation of the People’s Act.Article 47 of the Act states that a “person commits the offence of undue influence if he directly or indirectly by himself or by any other person on his behalf makes use of or threatens to make use of any force,
Undue influence at elections
AuthorNayna Maheshwari
ASSN36858
Published on04/10/2018
Co-Assn45151
EditorEditor
Last Updates04/10/2018
violence or restraint; or inflicts or threatens to inflict by himself or by any other person any temporal or spiritual injury, damage, harm or loss upon or against any person, in order to induce or compel that person to vote or refrain from voting, or on account of that person having voted or refrained from voting; or by abduction, duress or any fraudulent device or contrivance he impedes or prevents the free exercise of the franchise of a voter, or thereby compels, induces or prevails upon a voter either to vote or to refrain from voting.”It is also important for citizens to act responsibly and to report to the appropriate authorities such incidents because they are unlawful. The penalty for the corrupt practices mentioned are outline in the Representation of the Peoples Act Part 15 – Election Offences.In article 48 the penalties for corrupt practices is explained, any “person convicted of a corrupt practice whether it be personation, bribery, treating or undue influence, shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding VT 100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”Section 171C provides that whoever voluntarily interferes or attempts to interfere with

the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offence of undue influence at an election. It is punishable under section 171F.Whoever commits the offence of undue influence or personation at an election shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine or with both.Whoever, with intent to affect the result of an election makes or publishes any statement purporting to be a statement of fact which is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate shall be punished with fine.Whoever, without the general or special authority in writing of a candidate incurs or authorises expenses on account of the holding of any public meeting or upon any advertisement, circular or publication or in any other way whatsoever for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of such candidate, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees:Provided that if any person having incurred any such expenses not exceeding the amount of ten rupees without authority obtains within ten days from the date on which such expenses were incurred the approval in writing of the candidate. He shall be deemed to have incurred ‘such expenses with the authority of the candidate.Whoever, being required by any law for the time is being in force or any rule having the force of law to keep such account of expenses incurred at or in connection with an election fails to keep such accounts shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.The mere conducting of periodic elections does not guarantee the observance of an effectivedemocracy. It is the process of elections, the quality andperformance of candidates and theiradherence to the code of conduct that satisfies the legislative intent in giving people the rightto vote. However, in the current scenario, a departure from the modelelectoral process iseminent. Even though it has been more than 60 years since independence, the poverty,unemployment, illiteracy levels indicate the inefficiency in our political system. The rapidand widespread increase in corruption is responsible for the steep fall in moral value anddegradation of the Indian polity. Communal politics in India works on the basis of caste,ethnicity, region and religion and instead of promoting the secular fabric enshrined under theConstitution, the political parties exploit the communal, religious sentiments of people duringelections.Citizens put a lot of faith on the government they support. The electoral system is aninstrument through which citizens can exercise their right to vote and choose their ruler.Regardless of the outcome of the election, the interest of the voters requires representationand an efficient system of elections, free from corrupt practicesis the foundation of a freedemocratic nation.

RELEVANT CASES:

1. M. Anbalagam vs State 1981 CriLJ 1179

2. Sri Raj Raj Deb vs Sri Gangadhar Mohapatra And Ors. AIR 1964 Ori 1, 1964 CriLJ 57

3. B.L. Shankar vs Chief Election Commissioner ILR 1995 KAR 1027, 1995 (2) KarLJ 408

4. Deepak GanpatraoSalunke vs Governor Of Maharashtra & Others 2000 (5) BomCR 106, 1999 CriLJ 1224

5. M.K. Mahomed AsanMaracair vs A.K. Bijli Sahib Bahadur And Ors. (1934) 66 MLJ 367