SC asks EC to list poll fraud cases

A bench of Justices N V Ramana and Mohan M Shantanagoudar accepted a suggestion made by advocate Amit Sharma on behalf of the Election Commission. (Reuters File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Election Commission to tell the exact number of cases instituted by it in connection with election frauds and recovery of cash meant to bribe voters during the previous 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

A bench of Justices N V Ramana and Mohan M Shantanagoudar accepted a suggestion made by advocate Amit Sharma on behalf of the Election Commission.

The court asked the panel to submit a chart indicating the cases instituted on its complaints to ascertain the progress made in those criminal cases.

The court's order was passed as the Karnataka government represented by Additional Advocate General senior advocate Devadatt Kamat and advocate Joseph Aristotle challenged the validity of the Karnataka High Court's order of February 12, 2015.

The high court had quashed the criminal case registered against Prathik Parasrampuria on April 11, 2014 on recovery of cash over Rs 20.48 lakh and other materials by Election Commission's flying squad from Ballari Lok Sabha constituency.

On State government's challenge to the HC's order, the top court's bench had earlier sought to know why the criminal cases pertaining to election frauds including bribing of voters were not pursued effectively.

“We are of the opinion that though wide powers are vested in the Election Commission under Article 324(1) of the Constitution, they are regulated by statutory provisions as are enacted by the Parliament. We are informed that numerous criminal cases relating to crimes committed during elections are not being pursued effectively as the prosecution is completely left for the state machinery," the top court had said earlier.

The court also sought to know from the EC as well as the Union government the guidelines and the procedures to be followed by the flying squads, or similar authorities on search, seizure and prosecution of other criminal matters involving elections.

During the last general elections, raids were conducted at Parasrampuria's residence and business complex by the flying squad in its efforts to control the distribution of cash, gifts, liquor, free food for maintaining the integrity of the election.

The High Court, however, had quashed the FIR on the ground that there was no assertion in the complaint as to whom the accused intended to bribe and the mode which he had planned to adopt.

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SC asks EC to list poll fraud cases

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