Section 171A: “Candidate”, “Electoral right” defined.—
For the purposes of this Chapter—
(a) “candidate” means a person who has been nominated as a candidate at any election;
(b) “electoral right” means the right of a person to stand, or not to stand as, or to withdraw from being, a candidate or to vote or refrain from voting at an election.
Section 171B: Bribery.—
(i) gives a gratification to any person with the object of inducing him or any other person to exercise any electoral right or of rewarding any person for having exercised any such right; or
(ii) accepts either for himself or for any other person any gratification as a reward for exercising any such right or for inducing or attempting to induce any other person to exercise any such right,
commits the offence of bribery:
Provided that a declaration of public policy or a promise of public action shall not be an offence under this section.
(2) A person who offers, or agrees to give, or offers or attempts to procure, a gratification shall be deemed to give a gratification.
(3) A person who obtains or agrees to accept or attempts to obtain a gratification shall be deemed to accept a gratification, and a person who accepts a gratification as a motive for doing what he does not intend to do, or as a reward for doing what he has not done, shall be deemed to have accepted the gratification as a reward.
Section 171C: Undue influence at elections.—
(1) Whoever voluntarily interferes or attempts to interfere with the free exercise of any electoral right commits the offence of undue influence at an election.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (1), whoever—
(a) threatens any candidate or voter, or any person in whom a candidate or voter is interested, with injury of any kind, or
(b) induces or attempts to induce a candidate or voter to believe that he or any person in whom he is interested will become or will be rendered an object of Divine displeasure or of spiritual censure,
shall be deemed to interfere with the free exercise of the electoral right of such candidate or voter, within the meaning of sub-section (1).
(3) A declaration of public policy or a promise of public action or the mere exercise or a legal right without intent to interfere with an electoral right, shall not be deemed to be interference within the meaning of this section.
Section 171D: Personation at elections.—
Whoever at an election applies for a voting paper on votes in the name of any other person, whether living or dead, or in a fictitious name, or who having voted once at such election applies at the same election for a voting paper in his own name, and whoever abets, procures or attempts to procure the voting by any person in any such way, commits the offence of personation at an election.
Provided that nothing in this section shall apply to a person who has been authorised to vote as proxy for an elector under any law for the time being in force in so far as he votes as a proxy for such elector.
Section 171E: Punishment for bribery.—
Whoever commits the offence of bribery shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both:
Provided that bribery by treating shall be punished with fine only.
Explanation.—“Treating” means that form of bribery where the gratification consists in food, drink, entertainment, or provision.
Section 171F: Punishment for undue influence or personation at an election.—
Whoever commits the offence of undue influence or personation at an election shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.
Section 171G: False statement in connection with an election.—
Whoever with intent to affect the result of an election makes or publishes any statement purporting to be a statement of fact which is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, in relation to the personal character or conduct of any candidate shall be punished with fine.
171H. Illegal payments in connection with an election.—
Whoever without the general or special authority in writing of a candidate incurs or authorises expenses on account of the holding of any public meeting, or upon any advertisement, circular or publication, or in any other way whatsoever for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of such candidate, shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees:
Provided that if any person having incurred any such expenses not exceeding the amount of ten rupees without authority obtains within ten days from the date on which such expenses were incurred the approval in writing of the candidate, he shall be deemed to have incurred such expenses with the authority of the candidate.
171-I. Failure to keep election accounts.—
Whoever being required by any law for the time being in force or any rule having the force of law to keep accounts of expenses incurred at or in connection with an election fails to keep such accounts shall be punished with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees.
IMPORTANT CASE LAWS
1. Undue influence in elections by religious leaders
Ram Dial v. Sant Lal, 1959 Supp (2) SCR 748 : AIR 1959 SC 855: “There cannot be the least doubt that a religious leader has the right freely to express his opinion on the comparative merits of the contesting candidates and to canvass for such of them as he considers worthy of the confidence of the electors. In other words, the religious leader has a right to exercise his influence in favour of any particular candidate by voting for him and by canvassing votes of others for him. He has a right to express his opinion on the individual merits of the candidates. Such a course of conduct on his part, will only be a use of his great influence amongst a particular section of the voters in the constituency; but it will amount to an abuse of his great influence if the words he uses in a document, or utters in his speeches, leave no choice to the persons addressed by him, in the exercise of their electoral rights. If the religious head had said that he preferred the appellant to the other candidate, because, in his opinion, he was more worthy of the confidence of the electors for certain reasons good, bad or indifferent, and addressed words to that effect to persons who were amenable to his influence, he would be within his rights, and his influence, however great, could not be said to have been misused. But in the instant case, as it appears, according to the findings of the High Court, in agreement with the Tribunal, that the religious leader practically left no free choice to the Namdhari electors, not only by issuing the hukam or farman, as contained in Exh. P-1, quoted above, but also by his speeches, to the effect that they must vote for the appellant, implying that disobedience of his mandate would carry divine displeasure or spiritual censure, the case is clearly brought within the purview of the second paragraph of the proviso to Section 123(2) of the Act.”