New Delhi: Concerned over some state governments "unilaterally" withdrawing cases related to electoral offences after the end of the poll process, the Election Commission has asked the states to take such cases to their logical end even if it takes time.
In a letter to the Home Ministry and the Law Ministry, the poll body has asked them to once again circulate the instructions to state governments to ensure that cases related to electoral offences are pursued in courts are taken to a logical conclusion irrespective of the time taken.
During the period of election, election officials and the police detect several incidents of violation of law, electoral offences and corrupt practices committed by candidates or by their supporters.
"These violations and malpractices have serious adverse implications in the conduct of free and fair elections, a mandate given to the Commission under Article 324 of the Constitution," the EC said.
It said prosecution of these cases before the courts of law understandably takes time. However, irrespective of the time lag, the proper and meticulous prosecution of the cases initiated during the election and taking them to their logical conclusion is important for ensuring free and fair election which is the corner-stone of democracy.
"The Commission has observed that in many cases, after the elections are over, the state governments seek unilateral withdrawal of the cases filed/registered during the election period in which the Election Commission is vitally concerned. This happens generally when the accused happens to be a leader or supporter of the ruling party.
"Even cases involving serious offences like bribery, which have serious implication in the context of fair elections and free exercise of franchise by the electors, are sought to be withdrawn at times.
The withdrawal of such cases is totally against public interest and also sends a wrong signal that miscreants may indulge in any electoral malpractices and offences at elections with impunity as those cases may be withdrawn later," the EC said.