Bill proposes hike in penalty for poll-related offencesThe draft Election Offence and Punishment Bill, one of the five legislations required to hold the local polls, has proposed a hefty rise in penalties for election related crimes.
The draft Election Offence and Punishment Bill, one of the five legislations required to hold the local polls, has proposed a hefty rise in penalties for election related crimes.
The bill seeks to hike punishment for those using arms or setting off an explosion to three-year jail and Rs200,000 fine or both.
The existing Act provisions six month jail or fine up to Rs1000 or both for such offence during an election. An official at the Home Ministry said carrying or using arms is categorised as the gravest crime.
For the misuse of the ballot paper, two-year jail and Rs100,000 fine have been proposed. This is up from the existing penalty of Rs1,000 fine or imprisonment for up to six months or both.
If a non-Nepali casts a vote, s/he will be subjected to one year in jail or fine up to Rs100,000 or both.
Those offering cash or kind to influence an election would be jailed for up to one year or fined Rs50,000 or both.
Under the current Act, such an offender is slapped a fine up to Rs1,000 or imprisonment for up to six months or both.
The minimum fine proposed is Rs15,000. If any unauthorised person enters the vote counting location or one who indicates that s/he has voted in favour of a certain candidate, they will also be liable to fine up to Rs15,000.
“Even party cadres cannot indicate whom they voted for as it can influence other voters,” said the official. Those casting votes multiple times will face fines up to Rs25,000.
Although the government plans to hold the local elections in the upcoming spring, only three bills are ready to be enacted.
The Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws related to the Election Commission, Bill Related to Voter List, and Bill to Amend and Integrate Laws Related to Political Parties are
being discussed at the State Affairs Committee of Parliament while the Bill on Election Offences and Punishment and the Bill on Local Elections are under consideration of the Cabinet.
According to Bal Krishna Panthi, spokesperson for the Home Ministry, the Cabinet has decided to table the Offence Bill in Parliament. The bill was sent to the Council of Ministers last week.
Reining in the unruly
Carrying or using arms Up to three years in jail and Rs200,000 fine or both
Ballot paper misuse Two-year jail and fine up to Rs100,000 or both
Buying vote Jail up to one year or Rs50,000 or both
Non-Nepali casting vote 1 year jail or fine up to Rs100,000 or both