New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday reiterated that political parties cannot seek votes in the name of religion, caste etc. as it will amount to a “corrupt practice sufficient to annul the election” under the electoral laws.
In a letter addressed to the office bearers of all recognised national and state political parties, the EC referred to a January 2, 2017 Supreme Court ruling that said that an appeal to voters in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language is “impermissible”.
“An appeal in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language is impermissible under the Representation of the People Act, l95l, and would constitute a corrupt practice sufficient to annul the election,” the SC had observed in its verdict.
The poll panel has asked the parties to “suitably brief and inform their lower formations and party cadres and all their candidates about the ruling of the Supreme Court” and ask them to desist from any activities that would amount to soliciting votes in the name of religion, caste, etc. in any manner, “in their own interest and in the interest of the party”.
“Such appeals may also fall within the ambit of sub-paras(3) and (4) of Part-l of the Model Code of Conduct,” the EC warned.