Chapter IXA, Section 171A to Section 171I of the Indian Penal Code 1860 dealing with offences relating to elections. This Chapter of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was inserted in the year 1920. It was enacted with a view to Provide for the punishment of malpractices in an elections and for the conduct of inquiries in disputed Election.

Scope : 

            The scope of the provisions of this chapter is wide. It applies not only to the elections of legislative bodies but also to the membership of Municipalities, district boards, Panchayat and other Local Authorities.


Object : 

            An object of the Chapter IX of Indian Penal Code 1860 is to provide for the punishment of malpractices in connection with elections and attempts to safeguard the purity of the franchise.


1) Definition of "Candidate" and "Electoral right"( Section  171A) 

           For the purposes of this Chapter -

                        (a) "candidate" means a person who has been nominated as a candidate at any election;

                        (b) "electoral right" means the right of a person to stand, or not to stand as, or to withdraw from being, a candidate or to vote or refrain from voting at an election.



2) Bribery (Section 171B) 

             (1) Whoever -

                  (i) gives a gratification to any person with the object of inducing him or any other person to exercise any electoral right or of rewarding any person for having exercised any such right; or

                 (ii) accepts either for himself or for any other person any gratification as a reward for exercising any such right or for inducing or attempting to induce any other person to exercise any such right, commits the offence of bribery:

              Provided that a declaration of public policy or a promise of public action shall not be an offence under this section.

                  (2) A person who offers, or agrees to give, or offers or attempts to procure, a gratification shall be deemed to give a gratification.

                  (3) A person who obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain a gratification shall be deemed to accept a gratification, and a person who accepts a gratification as a motive for doing what he does not intend to do, or as a reward for doing what he has not done, shall be deemed to have accepted the gratification as a reward.


Ingredients :

The ingredients of this section are :

1)  Accused gives a gratification any person

2) Such gratification is given with the object of inducing him or any other person to exercise any electoral right or rewarding any person having exercised any such right

3) Declaration of such public policy or promise or public action shall not be an offence under this section.



3) Undue influence at elections. (Section 171C)

                    (1) Whoever voluntarily interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offence of undue influence at an election.

                    (2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub- section (1), whoever -

                            (a) threatens any candidate or voter, or any person in whom a candidate or voter is interested, with injury of any kind, or

                            (b) induces or attempts to induce a candidate or voter to believe that he or any person in whom he is interested will become or will be rendered an object of Divine displeasure or of spiritual censure, shall be deemed to interfere with the free exercise of the electoral right of such candidate or voter, within the meaning of sub-section (1).


                       (3) A declaration of public policy or a promise of public action, or the mere exercise or a legal right without intent to interfere with an electoral right, shall not be deemed to be interference within the meaning of this section.

Ingredients :

The ingredients of this section are :

1)  A person voluntarily interference or attempt with the exercise of any electoral right

2)  Such act is voluntarily

  • Interference includes 

             i) Threat to any candidate or voter or any person in whom who is interested with injury  or

             ii) inducing or attempting to induce a candidate or voter to believe that he will become the object of divine displeasure or spiritual censure.



4) Personation at elections (Section 171D) 

          Whoever at an election applies for a voting paper on votes in the name of any other person, whether living or dead, or in a fictitious name, or who having voted once at such election applies at the same election for a voting paper in his own name, and whoever abets, procures or attempts to procure the voting by any person in any such way, commits the offence of personation at an election.

Ingredients : 

To constitute an offence under this Section the following ingredients must exist -

i) The accused applied for a ballot paper at an election and voted in the name of any other person, whether living or dead or in a factitious name or

ii) Having voted once at such election applied at the said election for another voting paper.

iii) Attempted or abetted, procure the voting by any other person in any such way.



5) Punishment for bribery. (Section 171E)

               Whoever commits the offence of bribery shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both: only. Provided that bribery by treating shall be punished with fine only.

Explanation -

             "Treating" means that form of bribery where the gratification consists in food, drink, entertainment, or provision.

            The offence under this Section is non cognizable, bailable, non compoundable and triable by Magistrate of first class.



6) Punishment for undue influence or personation at an election. (Section 171F)

               Whoever commits the offence of undue influence or personation at an election shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

             The offence of undue influence is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Magistrate of first class. In case of personation at an election, it is cognizable, bailable and triable by Magistrate of first class.

7) False statement in connection with an election (Section 171G) -

               Whoever with intent to affect the result of an election makes or publishes any statement purporting to be a statement of fact which is false and which 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 shall be punished with fine.

            The offence false statement in connection with an election is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Magistrate of first class.


8) Illegal payments in connection with an election (Section 171H) - 

                 Whoever without the general or special authority in writing of a candidate incurs or authorizes 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, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees: Provided that if any person having incurred any such expenses not exceeding the amount of ten rupees without authority obtains within ten days from the date on which such expenses were incurred the approval in writing of the candidate, he shall be deemed to have incurred such expenses with the authority of the candidate.


             The offence under this Section is non-cognizable, bailable, but not compoundable and triable by Magistrate of first class.

9) Failure to keep election accounts (Section 171-I) -

                 Whoever being required by any law for the time being in force or any rule having the force of law to keep accounts of expenses incurred at or in connection with an election fails to keep such accounts shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.

                The offence under this Section is non-cognizable, bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Magistrate of first class.

       

       The Provisions relating to Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and chapter IXA of Indian Penal Code are complementary and should read together.  
 


See also


1) Wrongful restraint under the Indian Penal Code

2) Punishments under the Indian Penal Code,1860

3) Criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code

4) Difference/ Distinction between Hurt and Grievous Hurt

5) Legal Status of Dead Person

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