The data tells a similar story for Lok Sabha elections 2019. Almost 80% of the FIRs filed in UP, 376 of the 473, are still in court. Judgments came in three cases alone.By-elections in 2019 saw 89 FIRs filed in the most populous state and 71 of these are hanging fire in courts.In neighboring Uttarakhand, of the 76 FIRs filed in 2017 assembly elections, 31 are pending trial. Closure reports were filed in 21 cases and convictions made in 10 cases.In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, of the 17 FIRs lodged for electoral offences, nine are pending trial.Goa is no different. Of the 91 FIRs filed in the state in 2017, 37 are pending in court. All five FIRs filed in the 2017 by-elections are still pending as are the three filed in 2019 by-elections. Of the six FIRs lodged in 2019 Parliament elections, three are awaiting court proceedings.In case of Punjab, nearly 33% cases from the 2017 poll are in court. Of the 1,931 cases, 632 are under trial, 93 were cancelled and 225 are untraceable.From 2019 Lok Sabha polls, of the 3,961 cases lodged, 3,340 remain under trial and 180 are untraced.Data for poll-bound Manipur is unavailable to ET but unlikely to be radically different, said officials.The numbers also worry the poll panel. At the recent round of meetings- first with CEOs to all states, and more recently in interactions with officials from election-bound states-the EC emphasised on the need to follow through on cases filed for electoral offences.In fact, the ability to take these to logical conclusion is viewed as necessary to maintain the sanctity of the election process, the rulebook of the model code of conduct as well as the effectiveness of the EC.The laws cover almost every type of electoral offence to file a FIR under.The Indian Penal Code has a chapter on ‘offences related to elections’ and lists bribery, undue influence, personation, false statement and illegal payment in connection with elections as offences.There is a longer list under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 ranging from Promoting enmity between people to filing false affidavits, disturbances at election meetings, misconduct at polling stations, misuse of government servants, going armed to or near the polling stations and so on.The penalties prescribed are also heavy and range from barring from voting to contesting elections.
Source: Economic Times