GENERAL ELECTION TO LSGIs -2015
STATE ELECTION COMMISSION KERALA
GENERAL ELECTION TO LSGIs -2015
No. 6330/B/15/SEC 2015, October 06
INSTRUCTIONS TO STATE POLICE CHIEF, DISTRICT ELECTION OFFICERS, DISTRICT POLICE CHIEFS AND CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER
Sub: General Election -2015-Measures to ensure free and fair electionsreg.
Maintenance of Law and Order
Maintenance of law and order even during the time of poll is a Sovereign
function of the State under Article 243-K and 243-ZA of the Constitution, it is the duty and responsibility of the State Election Commission to hold timely elections. The Hon’ ble Supreme Court in Special Reference No.1 of 2002, in re- Gujarat Assembly Election, observed that it is the duty and responsibility of the Election Commission to hold free and fair elections and no efforts should be spared by the Commission to hold timely elections. Ordinarily law and order or public disorder should not be occasion for postponing the elections and it would be the duty and responsibility of all concerned to render assistance, co operation and aid to the Commission for holding free and fair elections. Any man made attempt to obstruct free and fair election is antithesis to democratic norms and should be overcome by garnering resources from the intended sources.
In “Kishansing TomarV Municipal Corporation of Ahmedabad (2006
(8)SCC 352) the Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court has held that in the matter of the conduct of elections, the Government concerned shall have to render full assistance and co operation to the State Election Commission and respect the latter’s assessment of the needs in order to e3nsure that free and fair elections are conducted”.
There shall be an atmosphere in which each and every voter is able to
access the Polling Station without being obstructed and intimidated. Many
voters fear to go to polling booths being apprehensive of law and order
situation. It is the duty of the State Government to give adequate protection to each voter to exercise his franchise in a free and fair manner. Ensuring peaceful atmosphere by the Government would increase the voter’s turn out.
IDENTIFICATION OF VULNERABLE AND SENSITIVE POLLING STATIONS
As part of ensuring fair and free election the Polling Stations/Locations
which are Vulnerable to law and order has to be identified. For which, the
location/Polling Stations have to be identified as Sensitive(politically and
communally), Vulnerable( Law and order and other issues expected) and hyper sensitive stations. After the Vulnerability mapping, measures to curb the menace has to be taken. Deployment of additional police force , Deployment of outside police force, videography etc. has to be undertaken as situations warrant.
In deference to the suggestions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Janak
Singh’s case it is permissible to allow videography inside polling stations to
cover all proceedings without compromising the secrecy of voting. The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court in Sajitha P.P and another V Kerala State Election Commission and others (2011(1)KHC 531) has permitted videography of poll proceedings at local body elections without compromising the secrecy of voting. However, due to large number of polling stations in local body elections it would not be practical to provide videography of all poll proceedings at each and every polling stations. Therefore, the District Election Officer has to assess the situation subject to vulnerability details and order videography at polling stations. The District Election Officer can also order videography at the expense of contesting candidates wherever they apprehend malpractice and the District Election Officer feels that there is basis for such apprehension.
DEPOSIT OF LICENSED ARMS
Hon’ble High Court of Kerala in Saji Kuriachan V District Collector
Ernakulam(2011 (1) KLT 484) has dealt with the issue of deposit of licensed
guns and arms. It is clarified in the judgement that the election to the local
bodies which are conducted by the State Election Commission will also be
governed by the circular issued by the Election Commission of India in this
regard. In the said circular:
‘’3.10 .Immediately after the announcement of elections, District
Magistrates shall make a detailed and individual review and assessment
(in accordance with the prevalent state laws) of all licence holders so that
licensed arms in those cases where they consider it essential are
impounded in order to ensure maintenance of law and order so essential
for ensuring free and fair elections. These arms should be deposited with
the district authorities. Among cases which may need to be reviewed are
(a). Arms licenses of persons released on bail,
(b). Arms licenses of persons having a history of criminal offences, and
(c). Arms licenses of persons previously involved in rioting at any time
but especially during the election period. The above categories are
only illustrative and not exhaustive.’’
It is also mentioned in the Guide line to constitute a Screening
Committee in every district. The Screening Committee shall consist of the District Magistrate and the District Police Chief/Commissioner of Police.
Cases of all licence holders mentioned supra shall be placed before the
Necessary steps are also to be taken to prevent transportation of illicit
liquor, drugs etc and also anti-social elements through the inter-state boarders of Kerala.
The Commission desires all authorities to take all necessary steps to
ensure free and fair elections to the ensuing Election to LSGIs Kerala.
SATAE ELECTION COMMISSIONER