Chapter IX. Corrupt Practices and Electoral Offences

144. Corrupt practices,—

The following shall be deemed to be corrupt practices for the purposes of this Act-
(1) "Bribery", that is to say,-
(A) Any gift, offer or promise by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent of any gratification, to any person whomsoever, with the object, directly or indirectly of inducing,-
(a) a person to stand or not to stand as, or to withdraw or not to withdraw from being a candidate at an election, or
(b) an elector to vote or refrain from voting at an election, or as a reward to-
(i) a person for having so stood or not stood, or for having withdrawn or run having withdrawn his candidature; or
(ii) an elector for having voted or refrained from voting;
(B) The receipt of, or agreement to receive, any gratification, whether as a motive or a reward-fa) by a person for standing or not standing as, or for withdrawing or not withdrawing from being, a candidate ; or
(b) by any person whomsoever for himself or any other person for voting or refraining from voting, or inducing or attempting to induce any elector to vote or refrain from voting, or any candidate to withdraw or not to withdraw his candidature.
Explanation.— For the purposes of this clause the term "gratification" is not restricted to pecuniary gratifications or gratifications estimable in money and it includes all forms of entertainment and all forms of employment for reward but it does not include the payment of any
expenses bonafide incurred at, or for the purpose of, any election and duly entered in the account of election expenses referred to in section 141.
(2) Undue influence, that is to say, any direct or indirect interference or attempt to interfere on the part of the candidate or his agent, or of any other person with the consent of the candidate or his election agent, with the free exercise of any electoral right: Provided that(
a) without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of this clause any such person as is referred to therein who-
(i) threatens any candidate or any elector, or any person in whom a candidate or an elector is interested, with injury of any kind including social ostracism and ex-communication or expulsion from any caste or community; or
(ii) induces or attempts to induce a candidate or an elector to believe that he, or any person in whom he is interested, will become or will be rendered an object of divine displeasure or spiritual censure, shall be deemed to interfere with the free exercise or the electoral right of such candidate or elector within the meaning of this clause;
29. Sub-section (4) added by Act 14 of 1999, w.e.f. 24-3-1999.
30. Section 143A inserted by Act 14 of 1999, w.e.f. 24-3-1999.
(b) a declaration of public policy, or a promise of public action, or the mere exercise of a legal right without intent to interfere with an electoral right shall not be deemed to be interference within the meaning of this clause.
(3) The appeal by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols
or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols such as the national flag or the national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate: Provided that no symbol allotted under any rules made under this Act to a candidate shall be deemed to be a religious symbol or a national symbol for the purpose of this clause.
(4) The promotion of, or attempt to promote, feelings of enmity of hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, by a candidate or his agent or any other person with the consent of a candidate or
his election agent for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate.
(5) The publication by a candidate or his agent or by any other person, with the consent of the candidate or his election agent of any statement of fact which is false, and which he either believes to be false or does not believe to be true, in relation to the personal character
or conduct of any candidate, or in relation to the candidature, or withdrawal, of any candidate, being a statement reasonably calculated to prejudice the prospects of that candidate's election.
(6) The hiring or procuring, whether on payment or otherwise, of any vehicle or vessel by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent, or the use of such vehicle or vessel for the free conveyance of any elector
(other than the candidate himself, the members of his family or his agent ) to or from any polling station provided under section 101:
Provided that the hiring of a vehicle or vessel by an elector or by several electors at their joint costs for the purpose of conveying him or them to and from any such polling station shall not be deemed to be a corrupt practice under this clause if the vehicle or vessel so hired is a vehicle or vessel not propelled by mechanical power:
Provided further that the use of any public transport, vehicle or vessel or any tramcar or railway carriage by any elector at his own cost for the purpose of going to or coming from any such polling station shall not be deemed to be a corrupt practice under this clause.
Explanation.— In this clause, the expression 'Vehicle' means any vehicle used or capable of being used for the purpose of road transport, whether propelled by mechanical power or otherwise and whether used for drawing other vehicles or otherwise.
(7) The incurring or authorising of expenditure in contravention of section 141.
(8) The obtaining or procuring or abetting or attempting to obtain or procure by a candidate or his agent or, by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent, any assistance (other than the giving of vote) for the furtherance of the prospects of that candidate's election, from any person in the service of a local authority or of Government belonging to any of the following classes, namely;-
(a) gazetted officers;
(b) members of the police forces;
(c) excise officers;
(d) revenue officers; and
(e) such other class of persons in the service of the Government as may be prescribed: Provided that where any person, in the service of a local authority or of the Government and belonging to any of the classes aforesaid, in the discharge or purported discharge of his official
duty, makes any arrangements or provides any facilities or does any other act or thing, for, to, in relation to, any candidate or his election agent or any other person acting with the consent of the candidate or his election agent, (whether by reason of the office held by the candidate or for any other reason), such arrangements, facilities or acts or things shall not be deemed to be assistance for the furtherance of the prospects of that candidate's election..
(9) Booth-capturing by a candidate or his agent or other person acting with the consent of the candidate or his election agent,
Explanation I.— In this section the expression "agent" includes an election agent, a polling agent and any person who is held to have acted as an agent in connection with the election with the consent of the candidate.
Explanation II.— For the purposes of clause (8), a person shall be deemed to assist in the furtherance of the prospects of a candidate's election if he acts as an election agent of that candidate.
Explanation III.— For the purposes of clause (8), notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, the publication in the Gazette of the appointment, resignation, termination of service, dismissal or removal from service of a person in the service of the Government or of a local authority shall be conclusive proof-
(1) of such appointment, resignation, termination of service, dismissal or removal from service, as the case may be; and
(ii) where the date of taking effect of such appointment, resignation, termination of service, dismissal or removal from service, as the case may be, is stated in such publication, also of the fact that such person was appointed with effect from the said date, or in the case of
resignation, termination of service, dismissal or removal from service, such person ceased to be in such service with effect from the said date.
Explanation IV.— For the purposes of clause (9), "booth-capturing" shall have the same meaning as in section 161.
145. Promoting enmity between classes in connection with election.— Any person who, in connection with an election under this Act, promotes or attempts to promote on grounds  of religion, race, caste, community or language, feelings of enmity or hatred, between different
classes of the citizens of India shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.
146. Prohibition of public meetings on the day preceding the election day and on the election day.— (1) No person shall convene, hold or attend any public meeting within a ward during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for an election in that ward.
(2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
147. Disturbances at election meetings.— (1) Any person who at a public meeting to which this section applies, acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the meeting was called together, shall be
punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.
(2) This section applies to any public meeting ol'a political character held in any ward between the date of the issue of a notification under this Act calling upon that ward to elect a Councillor and the date on which such election is held.
(3) If any police officer reasonably suspects any person of committing an offence under sub-section (1) he may, if requested so to do by the chairman of the meeting, require that person to declare to him immediately his name and address, and if that person refuses or fails so to declare his name and address, or if the police officer reasonably suspects him of giving a false name or address, the police officer may arrest him without warrant.
148. Restrictions on the printing of pamphlets, posters, etc.— (1) No person shall print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, any election pamphlet or poster which does not bear on its face the names and addresses of the printer and the publisher thereof.
(2) No person shall print or cause to be printed any election pamphlet or posterfa) unless, a declaration as to the identity of the publisher thereof, signed by him and attested by two persons to whom he is personally known, is delivered by him to the printer in duplicate; and
(b) unless within a reasonable time after the printing of the document, one copy of the declaration is send by the printer, together with one copy of the document printed to such officer as may be authorised by the State Election Commission in this behalf.
(3) For the purposes of this section,-
(a) any process for multiplying copies of a document, other than copying it by hand, shall be deemed to be printing and the expression 'printer' shall be construed accordingly;and
(b) "election pamphlet or poster" means any printed pamphlet, hand bill of other document distributed for the purpose of promoting or prejudicing the election of a candidate or a group of candidates or any placard or poster having reference to an election, but does not include any hand bill, placard or poster merely announcing the date, time, place and other particulars of an election meeting or routine instructions to election agents or workers.
(4) Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both.
149. Maintenance of secrecy of voting.— (1) Every officer, agent or other person who performs any duty in connection with the recording or counting of votes at an election shall maintain, and aid in maintaining, the secrecy of the voting and shall not (except for some purpose
authorised by or under any law) communicate to any person any information calculated to violate such secrecy.
(2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section(l) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which shall not be less than one thousand rupees or with both.
150. Officers etc., at election not to act for candidates or to influence voting.—
(1) No person who is a District Election Officer or a Returning Officer or an Assistant Returning Officer or a Presiding or Polling Officer at an election, or an officer performing any duty in connection with an election shall, in the conduct or the management of the election, do any act (other than the giving of vote) for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of a candidate.
(2) No such person as aforesaid, and no member of a police force, shall endeavour-
(a) to persuade any person to give his vote at an election, or
(b) to dissuade any person from giving his vote at an election, or
(c) to influence the voting of any person at an election in any manner.
(3) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
(4) An offence punishable under sub-section (3) shall be cognizable. 
151. Prohibition of canvassing in or near polling station.— (1) No person shall, on the date or dates on which a poll is taken at any polling station, commit any of the following acts within the polling station or in any public or private place within a distance of one hundred metres
of the polling station, namely :-
(a) canvassing for votes; or
(b) soliciting the vote of any elector; or
(c) persuading any elector not to vote for any particular candidate; or
(d) persuading any elector not to vote; or
(e) exhibiting any notice or sign (other than an official notice) relating to the election.
(2) Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section(l) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
152. Penalty for disorderly conduct in or near polling stations.— (1) No person shall, on the date or dates on which a poll is taken at any polling station-
(a) use or operate within or at the entrance of the polling station, or in any public or private place in the neighbourhood thereof, any apparatus for amplifying or reproducing the human voice, such as a megaphone or a loudspeaker, or
(b) shout, or otherwise act in a disorderly manner, within or at the entrance of the polling station or in any public or private place in the neighbourhood thereof. so as to cause annoyance to any person visiting the polling station for the poll, or so as to interfere with the work of the officers and other person on duty at the polling station.
(2) Any person who contravenes, or wilfully aids or abets the contravention of, the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months or with fine which shall not be less than one thousand rupees or with both.
(3) Any police officer may take such steps and use such force as may be reasonably necessary for preventing any contravention of the provisions of sub-section(l), and may seize any apparatus used for such contravention.
153. Penalty for misconduct at the polling station.— (!) Any person who during  the hours fixed for the poll at any polling station misconducts himself or fails to obey the lawful directions of the presiding officer may be removed from the polling station by the presiding officer or by any police officer on duty or by any person authorised in this behalf by such presiding officer.
(2) The powers conferred by sub-section(l)shall not be exercised so as to prevent any elector who is otherwise entitled to vote at a polling station from having an opportunity of voting at that station.
(3) Where any person who has been so removed from a polling station re-enters the polling station without the permission of the Presiding Officer, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
(4) An offence punishable under sub-section (3) shall be cognizable. 154. Penalty for failure to observe procedure for voting.— Where any elector to whom a ballot paper has been issued, refuses to observe the procedure prescribed for voting the ballot paper issued to him shall be liable for cancellation.
155. Penalty for illegal hiring or procuring of conveyances at elections.— Where any person is guilty of any such corrupt practice as is specified in clause (6) of section 144 at or in connection with an election, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
156. List of officers and staff of the Government Departments, local authorities 30A[or other authorities and Educational Institutions] to be furnished.— (1) Every 30B[head of office or departmental including educational institutions of the Government and every local authority or other authority and headmasters of aided schools and Principal of Private affiliated Colleges] shall, on requisition by the State Election Commission or an officer authorised by him, furnish to him a list of 30C[officers and staff of such office or educational institutions] within such time as may be specified in the requisition, for performing any duty in connection with an election  to a Municipality.
Explanation.— For the purpose of this section and section 202 "other authority" means any authority by whatever name called, constituted or established by the Government by or under any law for the time being in force.
(2) If any person to whom a requisition under sub-section(l) is made by the State Election Commission or an officer authorised by him, fails to furnish the list of officers and staff within such time as may be specified in such requisition, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
157. Breaches of official duty in connection with elections.— (1) Where any person to whom this section applies is without reasonable cause guilty of any act or omission in breach of his official duty, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
(2) No suit or other legal proceedings, shall lie against such person for damages in respect of any such act or omission as aforesaid.
(3) The persons to whom this section applies are the District Election Officers, Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers, Presiding Officers, Polling Officers and any other person appointed to perform any duty in connection with the receipt of nominations or withdrawal of candidatures, or the recording or counting of votes at an election; and the expression 'official duty' shall for the purposes of this section be construed accordingly, but shall not include duties imposed otherwise  than by or under this Act.
158. Requisitioning of premises etc., for election purposes.— (1) If it appears to the State Election Commission or the District Election Officer that in connection with an election-
(a) any premises are needed or are likely to be needed for the purpose of being used as a polling station or for the storage of ballot boxes after a poll has been taken, or
(b) any vehicle or vessel is needed or is likely to be needed for the purpose of transport of ballot boxes to or from any polling station, or transport of members of the police force for maintaining order during the conduct of such election, or transport of any officer or other person for the performance of any duties in connection with such election,
the State Election Commission, or as the case may be , the District Election Officer may by order in writing requisition such premises or such vehicle or vessel as the case may be, and may make such further orders as may appear to him to be necessary or expedient in connection with the requisitioning:
30A. Substituted by Act 8 of 1995.
30B. Substituted by Act 8 of 1995.
30C. Substituted by Act 8 of 1995.
Provided that no vehicle or vessel which is being lawfully used by candidate or his agent for any purposes connected with the election of such candidate shall be requisitioned under this subsection until the completion of the poll at such election.
(2) The requisition shall be effected by an order in writing addressed to the person deemed by the State Election Commission or, as the case may be, the District Election Officer to be the owner or person in possession of the property.
(3) Whenever any property is requisitioned under sub-section(l), the period of such requisition shall not extend beyond the period for which such property is required for any of the purposes mentioned in that sub-section.
(4) If any person contravenes any order made under this section, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine or with both.
(5) In this section-(a) "premises" means any land, building or part of a building and includes a hut, shed or other structure or any part thereof;
(b) "vehicle" means any vehicle used or capable of being used for the purpose of road transport, whether propelled by mechanical power or otherwise;
(c) "vessel" means any vessel used or capable of being used for the purpose of water transport, whether propelled by mechanical power or otherwise.
159. Penalty for Government servants or employees of a local authority for acting as election agent, polling agent or counting agent.— Where any person in the service of the Government or of a local authority acts as an election agent or a polling agent or a counting agent of a candidate at an election, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine or with both.
160. Removal of ballot papers from polling station to he an offence.—( I ) Any person who, at any election, fraudulently takes, or attempts to take, a ballot paper, out of a polling station, or wilfully aids or abets the doing of any such act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both.
(2) Where the Presiding Officer of a polling station has reason to believe that any person is committing or has committed an offence punishable under sub-section (l), such officer may, before such person leaves the polling station, arrest or direct a police officer to
arrest such person and may search such person or cause him to be searched by a police officer:
Provided that when it is necessary to cause a woman to be searched, the search shall be  made by another woman with strict regard to decency.
(3) Any ballot paper found upon the person arrested on search shall be made over for safe custody to a police officer by the Presiding Officer, or when the search is made by a police officer, shall be kept by such officer in safe custody.
(4) An offence punishable under sub-section (I) shall be cognizable.

161. Offence of booth-capturing.— Whoever commits an offence of booth-capturing shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to three years and with fine, and where such offence is committed by a person in the service of the Government or a local Authority, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to fiveyears and with fine.Explanation.— For the purposes of this section, 'booth-capturing' includes, among other
things, all or any of the following activities, namely:-

(a) seizure of a polling station or a place fixed for the poll by any person or persons, making polling authorities surrender the ballot papers or voting machines and doing of any other act which affects the orderly conduct of elections;
(b) taking possession of a polling station or a place fixed for the poll by any person or persons and allowing only his or their own supporters to exercise their right to vote and prevent others from voting;
(c) threatening any elector and preventing him from going to the polling station or a place fixed for the poll to caste his vote;
(d) seizure of a place for counting of votes by any person or persons, making the counting authorities surrender the ballot papers or voting machines and the doing of anything which affects the orderly counting of votes;
(e) doing by any person in the service of the Government or a local authority of all or any of the aforesaid activities or aiding or conniving at, any such activity in the furtherance of the prospects of the election of a candidate.
162. Other offences and penalties therefor.—

(1) A person shall be guilty of an electoral offence, if at any election he-
(a) fraudulently defaces or fraudulently destroys any nomination paper; or
(b) fraudulently defaces, destroys or removes any list, notice or other document affixed by or under the authority of a Returning Officer; or
(c) fraudulently defaces or fraudulently destroys any ballot paper or the official mark on any ballot paper or any declaration of identity or official envelop used in connection with voting by postal ballot; or
(d) without due authority supplies any ballot paper to any person, or receives any ballot paper from any person or is in possession of any ballot paper; or
(e) fraudulently puts into any ballot box anything other than the ballot paper which he is authorised by law to put in; or
(f) without due authority destroys, takes, opens or otherwise interferes with any ballot box or ballot papers then in use for the purposes of the election; or
(g) fraudulently or without due authority, as the case may be, attempts to do any of the foregoing acts or wilfully aids or abets the doing of any such acts.
(2) Any person guilty of an electoral offence under this section shall,-
(a) if he is a Returning Officer or an Assistant Returning Officer or a Presiding Officer at a polling station or any other officer or employee on official duty in connection with the election, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with
fine or with both;
(b) if he is any other person, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or with fine or with both.
(3) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be deemed to be on official duty if his duty is to take part in the conduct of an election or part of an election including the counting of votes or to be responsible after an election for the used ballot papers and other documents in connection with such election, but the expression 'official duty' shall not include any duty imposed otherwise than by or under this Act.