EC warns against property defacement

March 18, 2009: The Hindu

Act is meant to prevent any defacement of property during the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi

All citizens of Delhi, parties and candidates advised to strictly comply with ECinstructions

NEW DELHI: The Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi has once again cautioned people against defacement of property in the Capital and reminded them about the provisions of the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007 (Delhi Act 1 of 2009) which from this past March 1 extends to the whole of Delhi.

The CEO’s office said the Act together with instructions of the Election Commission of India contained in its letter dated October 7, 2008, is meant to prevent any defacement of property during the general elections to the Lok Sabha-2009 in Delhi.

Under Section 2 (a) of the Act, the term “defacement¶ includes impairing or interfering with the appearance or beauty, damaging, disfiguring, spoiling or injuring in any other way whatsoever, and the word “deface¶ shall be construed accordingly.

Also, Section 3 (1) of the Act on penalty for defacement of property says that “whoever defaces any property in public view by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or any other material except for the purpose of indicating the name and address of the owner or occupier of such property, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both¶.

These penalties will be without prejudice to the provisions of Sections 425 and 434 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (45 of 1860), and the relevant Municipal Acts.

Cognizable offence

Moreover, as per Section 3(2) of this Act, “where any offence committed under sub-section (1) is for the benefit of some other person or a company or other body corporate or an association of persons (whether incorporated or not), then such other person and every president, chairman, director, partner, manager, secretary, agent or any other officer or persons concerned with the management thereof, as the case may be, shall, unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or consent, be deemed to be guilty of such offence¶.

Stating that an offence punishable under this Act is cognizable, the CEO has advised all citizens of Delhi, political parties and candidates contesting the elections to strictly comply with the instructions of the Election Commission of India for prevention of defacement of property in Delhi.

In case any such defacement of property takes place during the election campaign or thereafter, any member of the public can lodge a report at the nearest police station and the police and the local authorities would take strict action to enforce the provisions of the law.

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