The Supreme Court today (August 27th, 2018) dismissed a plea that sought a minimum punishment of two years for electoral offences, including bribery, false statement, undue influence, by candidates and political parties.
A bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud refused to entertain a PIL filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.
In his plea, Upadhyay had alleged that there has been a significant increase in the number of bribery incidents and the major reason behind this is that bribery is a non-cognizable offence.
"The change in law has become necessary as there have been increasing incidents of bribery being detected in all elections, from local body polls to Lok Sabha elections,” the plea said.
Further, the plea stated that "This is because, currently, bribery is a non-cognizable offence attracting only minimal punishment.”
Moreover, in the plea, Upadhyay, had also said that in 2012, the Election Commission of India had recommended to the Home Ministry to amend the existing law to make bribery during elections (both in cash and in kind) a cognizable offence, enabling police to arrest violators without a warrant and to enhance the punishment up to two years.
However, the government has not done anything in this regard till date, the petitioner claimed.