The following is a news report in the Tribune Chandigarh.
Bathinda, December 25
Apprehending the distribution of intoxicants (drugs and liquor) by the contesting candidates or their supporters among the people during the Assembly elections in Punjab, a senior Supreme Court advocate, HS Phoolka launched a campaign under the banner of ‘Intoxicants-free Punjab’ here today. The intoxicants are reportedly distributed in the elections to lure the voters for securing their votes.
Phoolka, who is convener of the campaign, said due to a similar campaign by his team in the SGPC elections, the distribution of intoxicants had been controlled in a big way.
The Supreme Court lawyer said there were apprehensions that in the current Assembly elections, the intoxicants would be distributed in a big way by the contestants to ensure their victory.
Phoolka said they had formed a group to check the distribution of drugs in the Punjab Assembly elections. In this group, besides him, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Justice Kuldip Singh and noted journalist Kuldip Nayyar were the other members. He said Kuldip Nayyar would meet the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss the issue while he would meet the Chief Electoral Officer Kusumjit Sidhu in Chandigarh tomorrow in this regard.
Phoolka also announced that they would form district-level monitoring committees for the purpose. He said Dr GS Nagpal and advocate Jatinder Khattar would be members of the committee in Bathinda. He said in Chandigarh, advocate Navkiran Singh would work for the success of the campaign.
Phoolka said that after receiving a complaint about the distribution of intoxicants, his team would take up the matter with the Election Commission. If the complaint was found to be true, then the winning candidate might be disqualified after election or the candidature of the candidate could be cancelled during the election, he added.
He also appreciated the role of the media during the SGPC elections in checking the distribution of intoxicants. He said they would now meet the state presidents of the SAD, the BJP and the Congress to make a request to issue directions to their respective candidates on not distributing intoxicants among the voters. He said they would even conduct ‘sting operations’ for checking the distribution of intoxicants. He also said there were several code names for different intoxicants, like dry fruit for ‘poppy husk’.
Phoolka said his team would maintain a close contact with the Election Commission for checking the use of intoxicants during the elections.
The Supreme Court lawyer also said that they would issue phone numbers and addresses for making the complaints so that it could be brought to the notice of the Election Commission for the required action.
Letters By Shri H.S. Phoolka to the Chief Commissioner Gurudwara Elections
C-253, Defence Colony,
New Delhi 110024.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
SGPC ELECTION : ELIMINATE THE ROLE OF MONEY POWER
I have written a letter to Chief Commissioner Gurudwara Election Chandigarh, to eliminate the role of money power and to check the expenses certain guidelines to be issued immediately. It is most surprising that in the Assembly and Parliament Elections a limit on the expenses has been fixed and every candidate has to maintain the expenses and file it regularly with the Returning Officer during the campaign period. It is most surprising that in the SGPC which is a religious body and here money should not play any role, no limit on expenses has been fixed neither any condition for maintaining the expenses.
In addition to fixing a limit for expenses, I have made some other suggestions such as restriction on pasting of the posters, complete restrictions on putting the hoardings on roads and public streets, restriction on processions, and restriction on use of campaign vehicles.
A copy of letter to the Chief Commissioner Gurudwara Elections is enclosed.
Keeping in view the urgency at the matter we propose to approach the Central Government i.e. the Prime Minister and Home Minister to expedite the issuance of such guidelines. If need be, we will also file a Petition in the Supreme Court.
Justice H.S Brar,
The Chief Commissioner Gurudwara Election,
Sub:- Restriction on Election Expenses, Pasting of Posters, Number of Campaign Vehicles & Processions
Use of money power and exorbitant expenses during the elections has been a cause of major concern in India since past few years. A number of steps have been taken either on directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court or by Election Commission of India on its own. Some of these steps have been with regard to restricting Election expenses, pasting of the posters, placing restrictions/ limitations on Processions and use of Loud speakers.
The SGPC is the religious body. Use of money power & exorbitant expenses should not have any role to play in the elections to the SGPC, for that would undermine the very sanctity and foundation of the organization. But unfortunately, experience has shown that these aspects do play a role, and an extremely vital one. Keeping in mind the objectives and purpose of the SGPC, restrictions on these elections should go a step further than the general restrictions on general elections and the restrictions declared by the Election Commission of India.
I request you to kindly issue the necessary directions putting a complete restriction on the following:-
1. A limit of 2.5 Lakh be fixed on election expenses and the rule for maintenance of expense and filing of accounts as applicable in general elections should also apply here. In assembly elections in Punjab & Haryana limit on expenses is 10 Lakhs and in Himachal Pradesh is 7 Lakh. Since the number of voters in a constituency in SGPC elections is much lower than assembly elections therefore the limit of expenses of Rs. 2.5 Lakh is a reasonable one.
2. Only 3 vehicles should be allowed for campaign by a candidate in one constituency.
3. No processions should be allowed from the date nomination paper is filed by the candidate till the elections.
4. The pasting of posters should be prohibited except at the campaign office of the candidate.
5. Only 2 campaign offices of one candidate should be allowed.
6. No hoarding should be permitted at public places, Public roads and streets.
Most of these restrictions are already applicable in case of Parliament and Assembly elections, for the election of SGPC which is a religious body the rules should be more stringent.
[I earnestly request you to frame guidelines on the above subjects and issue the same in addition to Model Code.
If you need any assistance in this, I shall be glad to provide the same.
H. S Phoolka.