New Delhi: The Election Commission of India on Friday expressed its concerns over the use of indelible ink by banks in exchange for currency notes under the demonetisation rule.
Notably, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, and Arunachal Pradesh are slated to go for Assembly polls on November 19.
In a letter to the Finance Ministry, the EC said: "It is informed that bye-elections from some parliamentary and Assembly constituencies are currently in progress, a poll for which is scheduled to be taken on 19.11.2016. As per the provisions of Rule 49K of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, the left forefinger of electors is required to be marked with indelible ink at the polling stations before the elector is allowed to vote."
While Uttar Pradesh and Punjab are headed for Assembly polls early next year, the Election Commission stated, "Sub-rule (4) of the said Rule 49K provides that in cases, where the elector does not have forefinger on the left hand, the ink is to be marked on any finger on his left hand, and if does not have any finger on his left hand, the ink is to be marked on his right forefinger. Extracts from the Handbook for Returning officers issued by the commission containing instructions in terms of the aforesaid Rule 49K are also enclosed for reference."
"In view of the current bye-elections and upcoming General Elections to Legislative Assemblies of some of the states, it is requested that the above-mentioned provisions of rules regarding application of indelible ink at elections and the commissions instructions in this regard should be duly taken into consideration in the context of the reported move to apply indelible ink in connection with demonetisation process so that the same does not affect the election process in any manner," it added.
On Wednesday, those exchanging old notes to the tune of Rs 4,500 over the counter were being marked with indelible ink - a measure used to prevent voter fraud in elections - to ensure that the same people do not queue up repeatedly as the government moves to stop money laundering and ensure that the lines at banks get a little shorter.
A notification to this effect was issued late on Tuesday.
The government has also warned Jan Dhan Yojana account holders against allowing their accounts to be misused to launder scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
It has come to the notice of the government that in many places the same people are coming back again and again.
(With ANI inputs)