Poll panel to implement SC order on religion

Poll panel to implement SC order on religion

The Election Commission is preparing to implement the recent Supreme Court order barring invocation of “religion, race, caste, community or language” to seek votes in the polls.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi told journalists that the commission would immediately implement the order of the apex court and take necessary steps so that it is strictly adhered to even during the forthcoming polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

“The law department of the Election Commission is preparing instructions based on the Supreme Court order. The order will further strengthen the hands of the commission and it wants all political parties to follow the it on their own as well,” Zaidi said after announcing the schedule of the polls in the five states.

The Supreme Court on January 2 ruled that election of a candidate would be annulled if he or she had sought votes invoking “religion, race, caste, community or language”.

The CEC was asked what would happen to the political parties with names having invocations of castes, religions or linguistic identities. He replied that the commission had in 2005 decided not to allow registration of parties by such names.

The Assembly polls in the five states are going to be the first major elections after the Union government demonetised the high-value currency notes.

‘Less black money’
The EC is expecting that the use of black money in the forthcoming elections would be lesser than the previous polls as a result of demonetisation.

“In this upcoming elections, the EC machinery will see what measures need to be taken to curb the use of black money post demonetisation. But, as per information received, the availability of black money for use in the forthcoming election is expected to be less. As the poll process picks up, we will monitor it,” said Zaidi.

He, however, said that the use of other illegal inducements might see a rise in the coming elections.

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