In the Indian Penal Code, Section 171 of Part IXA deals with election-related offences. Section 2 of the Indian Elections Offences and Inquiries Act,1920, established this Chapter. Bribery, personation, undue influence, and making false statements to disparage someone are all prohibited under the law. The fundamental goal of this chapter is to ensure free and fair elections, as well as to allow people to exercise their right to vote freely.
In terms of politics, liberty and equality are the most important things to consider when it comes to the concept of free and fair elections. Free and fair elections imply that no one is affected when exercising their legal right that they are free to decide and develop their own decisions, free from the shackles of others, and without malice or undue influence from others.
Elections are necessary for a state’s smooth operation, and they must be conducted fairly. When a person votes, he or she is not influenced or controlled by party discipline, religion, sex, language, caste, creed, or other factors. One is also not obligated to engage in corrupt methods such as bribery or the use of low-cost tactics to trash someone’s election campaign.
Section 171A (Candidate and Electorial right definition )
For the purposes of this chapter, we’ll use the following terms:
- “Candidate” refers to a person who has been nominated as a candidate for any election;
- “electoral right” refers to a person’s right to run for office, or not run for office, or to withdraw from running for office, or to vote or not vote in an election.
Section 171B (Bribery)
Bribery is defined as giving enjoyment to someone with the intent of influencing that person to exercise his or her electoral right, or as a reward after that person has exercised his or her electoral right after being induced. The person who accepts such a bribe and is influenced to exercise his or her electoral right in a different manner is likewise guilty of bribery. When someone offers/attempts to give/offer or attempt to gain gratification, they are said to give gratification in this area. A person who accepts or attempts to receive reward for altering his or her predetermined course and acting in accordance with the wishes of the one providing such gratification is said to have received gratification.
Bribery is punishable up to one year imprisonment, a fine, or both if it is committed under the requirements of Section 171E. A person bribed by the act of treating, on the other hand, will merely have to pay a fine. Providing or taking food, drink, amusement, or provision as satisfaction is referred to as “treating.”
Section 171C (Undue influence)
Undue influence at an election is committed by anyone who knowingly interferes with or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right.
Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section(1), whoever threatens any candidate or voter, or any person in whom a candidate or voter has an interest, with injury of any kind, or who threatens any candidate or voter with death, or
Induces or attempts to induce a candidate or voter to believe that he or any person in whom he has an interest will be rendered an object of Divine displeasure or spiritual censure, shall be deemed to be interfering with the free exercise of such candidate’s or voter’s electoral right, within the meaning of sub-section (1).
The mere exercise of a legal right without intent to interfere with an electoral right, or a declaration of public policy or a promise of public action, shall not be deemed interference within the meaning of this section.
Section 171D (Personation at elections)
Personation at an election is committed by anyone who applies for a voting paper on votes in the name of another person, whether living or dead, or in a fictitious name, or who, after voting once at such election, applies for a voting paper in his own name, and who aids, procures, or attempts to procure voting by any person in any such way.
Section171E (Punishment for bribery)
Bribery is punishable by imprisonment of any kind, up to one year, a fine, or both, provided, however, that bribery by treating is only punishable by a fine. Providing or taking food, drink, amusement, or provision as satisfaction is referred to as “treating.”
Section 171F (Punishment for undue influence or personation at an election)
Whoever commits the crime of undue influence or personation during an election shall be punished by imprisonment of either kind for a time up to one year, or by fine, or by both.
Section 171G (False statement in connection with an election)
Any person who, with the intent to influence the outcome of an election, makes or publishes any statement purporting to be a statement of fact that is false and that he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate will be fined.
Section 171H (Illegal payments in connection with an election)
Whoever incurs or authorises expenses on account of the holding of any public meeting, or upon any advertisement, circular, or publication, or in any other way whatsoever for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of such candidate without the general or special authority in writing of such candidate shall be fined up to five hundred rupees.
Provided, however, that if any person who has incurred any such expenses not exceeding ten rupees without authority obtains the candidate’s approval in writing within ten days of the date on which such expenses were incurred, he shall be deemed to have incurred such expenses with the candidate’s authority.
Section 171I (Failure to keep election accounts)
Whoever fails to keep accounts of expenses incurred during or in connection with an election as required by any legislation in force at the time or any rule having legal force fails to keep such accounts shall be fined up to five hundred rupees.