Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea alleging cash-for-vote in LS polls in Tamil Nadu

The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a plea which alleged that people were being bribed on a massive scale for the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it was not inclined to hear the matter since the elections in the state were already over.

“As elections in the state of Tamil Nadu are over, we are not inclined to entertain this petition,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

The apex court had earlier sought Election Commission’s response on the plea in which the petitioner had sought creating awareness through TV, newspapers and radio that it was a punishable offence to give or take cash for votes.

The petition had said that so far Rs 78.12 crore in cash has been seized in the state.

The plea said the poll panel has already designated all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, along with 70 other seats across the country, as “expenditure sensitive”.

“That Case of the petitioner is that there are reports in all the leading newspapers and T.V. Channels regarding cash-for-vote in bye elections and Lok Sabha, elections and state assembly elections. A survey report also speak about the increasing cash for vote practice in Tamil Nadu,” it said.

The petition further said that if one political party has an overwhelming superiority in money, the newspapers support and give patronage to it, and it will be almost impossible for it ever to be defeated.

“This would result in some voters being denied an equal voice and some candidates, denied equal chance,” it said.

The plea also alleged that all political parties openly paid cash-for-vote to the voters in Madurai, Thirumangalam bye-election held on 2009.

“A main major political party paid Rs 5,000 each to the voters to cast their vote, to their favoured candidates. The Election Commission’s hands were tied and its officials were seen as silent spectators in Madurai, Thirumangalam Bye Election constituency,” the plea claimed.

The petition sought increase in the number of flying squads appointed by EC to control cash-for-vote and effective monitoring.

It also sought that if election is postponed or cancelled for the reason of distribution of cash for vote or for deviating any election rules, the huge money spent for election by government should be recovered from the candidate/ head of political party.

The petitioner had referred to the media and intelligence reports to say that Rs 10,000 crore case was arriving in Tamil Nadu and the recent seizure of Rs 11.5 crore from a cement godown in Vellore district by the I-T investigation wing substantiates the allegations that huge cash was being used for votes.

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