State Election Commission serves notice to ENPO over ULB boycott

State Election Commission serves notice to ENPO over ULB boycott

The Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) has been served a show-cause notice by the Nagaland State Election Commission (SEC) following their public declaration to boycott the upcoming Urban Local Body (ULB) elections. The SEC contends that the ENPO’s position undermines the principles of Universal Adult Franchise and violates the constitutional rights of individual voters.

The notice, issued on June 1, 2024, comes in response to the ENPO’s repeated public statements on May 16 and May 31, announcing their collective decision to abstain from participating in the ULB elections.

The SEC had previously released the election schedule for general elections to three Municipal Councils and 36 Town Councils in Nagaland through Notification NO.SEC/MTC ELE-1/2024/23 dated April 29, 2024.

Also Read: All Nagaland Badminton Doubles League 2024 announced

In the show-cause notice, the State Election Commission stressed that the ENPO’s public declaration of abstention exerts undue influence on voters, interfering with their freedom to participate in the electoral process.

The Commission emphasised that such collective abstention, particularly when advocated by an organisation, contradicts the fundamental principles of electoral freedom and individual conscience.

The SEC’s press release dated May 17, 2024, had highlighted the importance of allowing voters to make independent decisions regarding their participation in elections. It also referred to a Notice of Contempt issued by the Supreme Court of India, cautioning against potential legal consequences for actions that interfere with free and fair elections.

Referring to Sub-section (1) of Section 171 C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which defines undue influence at an election as any voluntary interference with the free exercise of electoral rights, the SEC maintained that the ENPO’s actions could be interpreted as an attempt to infringe on the individual rights of voters and interfere with the SEC’s authority over the conduct of municipal elections.

Also Read: Third NAP (IR) jawan dies from heatstroke during Bihar polls

The show-cause notice instructed the ENPO to explain why action should not be taken against it under Section 171 C of the Indian Penal Code. The SEC reminded the ENPO’s President of their legal obligation to comply with the Supreme Court’s orders to ensure a free, fair, and undisturbed electoral environment.

As the situation develops, the ENPO’s response will be closely watched, with potential legal implications depending on their compliance with the State Election Commission’s directives. The SEC’s notice underscores the significance of upholding the principles of Universal Adult Franchise and safeguarding the individual rights of voters in Nagaland.

The ENPO’s decision to boycott the ULB elections has sparked a debate about the balance between organisational influence and individual voting rights. The SEC’s swift action in issuing the show-cause notice demonstrates its commitment to ensuring free and fair elections, as well as protecting the constitutional rights of voters.

Also Read: Gariphema Village hailed as Best Performing Tobacco-free Village

As Nagaland prepares for the upcoming ULB elections, the outcome of this dispute between the SEC and the ENPO will have significant implications for the state’s political landscape. The SEC’s firm stance on upholding electoral principles sends a strong message about the importance of maintaining the integrity of the democratic process.

Spread the love