Can electoral corruption be tolerated?

Under Section 123 of Representation of People Act, 1951, 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 a voter constitutes bribery. Just how common is this offence in Indian elections? Does it serve any useful purpose to have a legal provision penalising bribery when almost all candidates might be guilty of this offence? Although this provision can be invoked by another candidate or a voter only after the elections to set aside the election of a successful candidate who allegedly committed this offence, we hardly hear any instance of EC being proactive to prevent such an offence using the corresponding IPC provisions. Read this social scientist and her work, for an insight into what this offence can achieve and contribute to Indian democracy, notwithstanding what the legal provisions provide.

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