HC grants relief to Minister for canvassing with Jaya’s ‘coffin

L[12/18, 09:31] Sekarreporter: HC grants relief to Minister for canvassing with Jaya’s ‘coffin’: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/hc-grants-relief-to-minister-for-canvassing-with-jayas-coffin/article30334012.ece
[12/18, 09:31] Sekarreporter: The interim orders were passed on a petition filed by the Minister to quash the case in toto on the ground that he had not committed any offence.
“An appeal to the sentiment or emotion of the voters is not tantamount to corrupt practice under Section 123(2) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951,” he claimed in the quash petition. He also claimed that no offence could be made out against him under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971 since neither the complainant nor the investigating officer, in his final report, had been able to establish that he had disrespected or brought into contempt either the national flag or the Constitution.
Dramatic re-enactment
“The alleged act of the petitioner…consists of a dramatic re-enactment of the State funeral of the late Dr. Jayalalithaa. At her State funeral, the Indian national flag was indeed draped over her coffin in the funeral procession. It is therefore trite that a re-enactment of the funeral would also include the national flag. Such re-enactment is not prohibited by law.
“The petitioner here in is a well respected member of the society and has never indulged in any activity that affects or reduces the honour of our national symbols. On the face of it, the alleged allegations do not constitute any offence under the 1971 Act. The impugned (under challenge) proceedings are therefore an abuse of process of law,” the Minister said.
He went on to state that the third charge levelled against him under Section 171F (punishment for undue influence or personation at an election) of the Indian Penal Code would also not stand the test of law since it was settled law that a mere appeal to the sympathy of the voters would amount to exerting undue influence on them.
The Minister also relied upon several Supreme Court judgements to substantiate his claim that no case had been made out against him on the basis of the complaint lodged by a member of the flying squad.

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