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A FACET OF STRINGENT LAWS AND BETTER IMPLEMENTATION: ELECTION UNDER I.P.C

INTRODUCTION

The laws are enacted to instil apprehension in the minds of the perpetrators to deter crimes. The failure of the same will cause a hike in conviction rates. Fear is the foremost element that can deter people from doing erroneous. To fabricate apprehension among individuals, the laws need to be stringent so far. In criminology, we have studied the theory of broken windows where even a small disorder that exists in society and is not tackled accordingly then it will lead to a cataclysm. To avert that disorder,  both society and law have to play a vital role to come over them. Given that laws need to be stern and there was a need for better implementation to deter these disorders. Otherwise, it will cause heinous crimes and the same will be deterred by the stringent laws and by the strict/ better implementation of them.  Albeit, it doesn’t mean that petty offences should be punished with the death penalty. There should be proportionality between the punishment and the gravity of the offence. And that proportionality should be in that way so that no one can dare enough to do that crime. The solitary provisions of the stringent laws have nothing to do with the deterrence effect in crimes. A better implementation should be synchronized with these strict laws. The implementing procedure of law lies with the law enforcement agencies which were politicized and lacked resources and infrastructure. Law enforcement agencies should be efficacious so that the snail-paced procedure of the judiciary could function properly. Even after the initiation of Fastrack courts and speedy trials, the effectiveness of justice tampered and the cause for the same is hidden. There should be no late or lengthy processes and there should be a speed and efficient execution of the investigation so that it cannot mislead the proof. Justice is denied if it is delayed. So proper implementation along with stringent laws are the best combo for the victim’s satisfaction.

The obstacle to better implementation is the power and money will of the individual. The understaffed and undertrained employees also undermine the effectiveness of the implementation. So better implementation is not conducting awareness campaigns alone but through various methods like framing policies by the government, providing the infrastructure, professionalizing the staff, and stipulating stringent punishments. Prescribing the punishments alone cannot deter the crimes so there should be some pressurizing factor. The same was analyzed regarding offences related to elections as below.

ANALYSIS OF OFFENCES RELATED TO ELECTION UNDER I.P.C

Elections are the most indispensable element in the democracy. They play a pivotal role in preserving democracy and justice. They should be in free and fair means. The Indian penal code(hereinafter referred to as IPC) stipulates the punishment for the offences relating to the election wherein it penalizes the offences like bribery, undue influence, impersonation, making false statements during the elections, and maintenance of false accounts. The objective is to provide a free and fairly means of election so that individual can exercise their voting rights without any influence. The elections are the epitome of our democracy where the elements of liberty and equality play their role.

Under IPC the punishment prescribed for the offences committed against elections is meagre. All the candidates will have the desire to win the elections and they will adopt unfair means, tamper with the fair mechanism, and impedes the rights of the individuals to attain their impulses. Section 171B[1] punishes the individuals who give and receive the gratification that induces and interrupts the person’s electoral right. Section 171C[2] penalizes undue influence during the election which includes the form of threatening and misleading the candidate or a voter. Section 171D[3] says that if any person votes in impersonation by unfair means is guilty of the offence. However, if the person is authorized to act as a proxy for an elector shall not be held guilty under this section.  Section 171G[4] penalizes the person who makes a false statement in connection with the elections with a malafide intent to disrupt the result of the election. Section 171H[5] and Section 171I[6] both punish the illegal payments made in connection with the elections, which may include campaigning, press conferences, and public meetings and punishes for the failure of keeping accounts regarding the election campaigns respectively.

Even though the Indian Penal Code 1860 stipulates the provisions for the offences relating to the elections, the punishment prescribed under these provisions was very less. The lesser the punishment the less the fear among the public. Having stringent laws and better implementation could create the element of apprehension in the minds of the individuals and that will deter them from committing so. The punishment prescribed for bribery, undue influence, and impersonation under section 171F of the IPC[7] is imprisonment which can be extended to one year or with a fine or with both. The punishment prescribed for the subsequent section relating to the IPC is a fine which may be extended to Rs 500. The diminution in the punishment relating to the elections, which was an indispensable element in maintaining democracy and this democracy is the basis of our India, can lead to undesirable things. We cannot ignore the things which can make worse to our democracy. So the prescribed punishment relating to these offences should increase to protect the free and fair means of elections. These punishments have become redundant to these age-old provisions.

CONCLUSION

As elections play a vital role in preserving democracy, prescribing lesser punishments is not adaptable. It is advised to the government to make stringent laws through amendments in the prevailed Acts. The deterrence effect could attain through stringent laws with a pressurizing factor and various methods of implementation. The punishment should be proportional to the crime. So the certainty of punishment should adopt rather than the quantum of punishment. Here in offences relating to the elections, the prescribed punishment is meagre to the offences which could tamper the Indian democracy. So adapting the stringent punishments and better implementing them may diminish the offences in connection with the election. So a careful and close study is needed while framing the laws to be stringent and there should be maintenance of accounts while implementing them for better implementation of laws.

Author(s) Name: Jagatha Sivani (Andhra University)

References:

[1] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171B

[2] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171C

[3] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171D

[4] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171G

[5] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171H

[6] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171I

[7] The Indian Penal Code 1860, s 171F