New Delhi: A majority of states have agreed with the Election Commission`s suggestion to make giving and accepting gratification or inducement of any kind to lure votes in their favour a cognizable offence.
As many as 18 states have agreed to the Commission suggestion in this regard given to the government sometime ago.
The government had sought the response of states to the EC proposal but is yet to initiate any action.
Giving and accepting bribe to lure votes is a non- cognizable offence under Section 171-B of IPC and bail can be granted by a police officer.
"Once the offence is made cognizable under CrPC, courts can refuse bail to the offenders which will become a deterrent in checking the menace," said a senior Election Commission official.
The poll panel is now sensitising its officials as Karnataka goes to polls on May 5.
The Commission has already directed its officials to file FIRs in Karnataka against those accepting bribes or gratification as an inducement for favouring a candidate.
As many as 143 FIRs for various electoral offences have already been registered in Karnataka and seizures to the tune of Rs 10.02 crore in cash and 55,000 litres of liquor have been made in the poll-bound southern state.
With the offence being non-cognizable, the bribe-givers including political parties and politicians have so far gone scot free in the absence of evidence to nail them under the present law. The EC has found the bribe-takers are mainly from poorer sections of the society.