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“Door-to-door campaigning after 10pm a criminal offence”: CEO
With the Election Commission coming under attack from parties for allegedly permitting door-to-door canvassing during night, the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar today clarified that campaigning after 10pm was prohibited and all the EC laws continued to apply.
“You have put (in media) Election Commission has permitted to do campaign during night hours. What I say is that still Election law prohibits campaigning through loudspeaker, procession, beyond 10 pm”, Praveen Kumar told reporters here.
“If a candidate undertakes campaigning house-to-house, under general law you can be booked under criminal intimidation. He can be booked under IPC 451″, he said.
“Commission has not permitted anyone to do house-to-house campaign. But if the person prefers and file a case against a candidate, it becomes a cognisable offence, and that person (candidate) can be arrested also,” he said.
“Commission has not permitted anything new. If you go and intimidate someone forcefully in a house, that is an offence under criminal law”, he said.
Asked about Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s deploring the EC’s methodology of calculating expenses of election rallies, he said “that is the position of old rule”, without elaborating.
Addressing an election meeting at Salem on Thursday, Jayalalithaa had lashed out at the EC and declared that her party would move court challenging the norms.
Commenting about Election Commission’s initiative of taking action against a media organisation for publishing a paid news item, he said the Election Commission media committee was processing the content published by the media.
To a query on what action the Election Commission can take if any of a party candidate files an affidavit without disclosing valid details, Kumar said the candidate can be disqualified from contesting for three years.
On seizure of unaccounted money, he said the Commission has seized Rs 16.39 crore in cash with the majority reported from Chennai (Rs 2.48 Crore) while Rs 6.87 crore worth of valuables were seized till date across Tamil Nadu.