The Madurai bench of Madras High Court on Thursday ordered that no political party can transport hordes of people in trucks, vans or buses to take part in its public meetings in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
KK Ramesh from Madurai had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking strict monitoring of political parties and workers before and during the elections.
The petitioner sought an order to publicise that it is a crime to give or take money in exchange for votes, to place advertisement boards which emphasised the same and sought that monitoring groups be formed to keep a watch on the situation. He also sought that the court issue an order that no flex boards or banners be erected on busy roads and in case the polls to a constituency gets cancelled due to a Moral code of conduct violation by any party, that particular party must be ordered to pay the amount spent on election expenses in that constituency.
In the PIL, the petitioner cited the infamous 2009 Assembly bye-elections in Thirumangalam, which popularised the ‘cash for votes’ concept as the ‘Thirumangalam formula’, and the 2014 general elections in which cash was given to voters in exchange for a promise to vote for a particular political party.
Stating that 3,742 FIRs had been filed and Rs 27.93 crores were seized during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the petition added that such monetary dealings happen in every election.
Hearing the petition, a bench of Justices Kirubakaran and Sundar ordered a ban on installation of hoardings, flex banners and cut-outs of election campaigns. The judges also banned the political parties from bringing in large numbers of people in trucks, vans and buses to participate in political rallies and ordered that all political parties in Tamil Nadu be added as respondents in the case. They also ordered the Election Commission of India and all the political parties in Tamil Nadu to respond to the petition by March 21.
Source: The News Minute