Madras High Court today issued notice to the Election Commission on a PIL seeking recovery of poll-related expenses from AIADMK and DMK nominees of two Tamil Nadu assembly constituencies, where polls had been cancelled last month on grounds of use of money power.
The PIL contended that the “corrupt” practices of the candidates of AIADMK and DMK forced the EC to cancel the elections in the two constituencies and hence, they should be required to bear the cost of the cancelled elections.
When the petition by PMK nominees M Baskaran and G Kunjithapatham for Aravakurichi and Thanjavur constituencies, respectively, came up for hearing, a bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan issued notice to EC’s counsel Niranjan Rajagopal.
“We would like to examine whether Election Commission in view of the recent episodes is examining the aspect sought to be raised in writ petitions,” the bench said, directing the EC counsel to file the counter by four weeks and posted the matter to August 9.
The petitioners sought a direction to the EC to recover all the expenses incurred for making arrangements for the polls from DMK and AIADMK candidates in Aravakurichi — KC Palanisamy and V Senthil Balaji, from whom the EC had seized huge amounts of cash in the run-up to the May 16 elections.
The petitioners submitted that in both the constituencies, mockery of electoral process reached unprecedented levels owing to which the EC was forced to cancel the whole process.
They further said ‘innocent’ candidates like them had incurred huge expenses for contesting the elections which was “a waste of money and time”.
They said they filed the PIL as there was no response from the EC to their representation on the matter.
The petitioners also sought appointment of a statutory auditor to calculate the expenditure incurred by all the candidates including them and recover it from the candidates whose indulgence in electoral offences resulted in the rescinding of the elections.
The EC had on two occasions postponed polls to Aravkurichi and Tanjavur Assembly constituencies following reports of large-scale distribution of money and gifts to voters by the candidates and political parties and later cancelled them.
( Source – PTI )