Thursday, February 22, 2024

6 cases of submission of fake papers detected: CM

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By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma has said that the Election department has detected six cases where people submitted their application for enrollment in the voters list by producing fake documents.

“I have directed that these six individuals be booked under relevant sections of law for submitting fake documents to back up their claims to citizenship. All necessary steps would be taken to prosecute them,” Dr Sangma said while speaking to reporters here on Wednesday.

The Chief Minister also said he would ask the Election Department to remain vigilant to track similar cases.

“The detection by the Election department clearly suggests that there is proper mechanism in place for detecting any attempt by dubious characters to get themselves enrolled as voters, ” Dr Mukul said.

Meanwhile, he also warned that the Government would take stringent action against people who attempt to enroll themselves in the voters’ list by producing fake documents.

The Chief Minister, however, made it clear that the enrollment of genuine voters in the electoral roll would continue.

Making it clear that the process of enrollment cannot be suspended, Dr Sangma said they cannot stop the enrollment process since as per the official figures there are many young people who have already turned 18 and have to be enrolled in the election voter’s list.

“We have to give our youth the chance to be part of the democratic set up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) Bhalang Dhar informed that the Election Branch has rejected a total of 299 applications from the seven constituencies of Shillong city during the period from January 1 till April 30 2012.

He said that most of the applications were being rejected as many of them have attached only the certificate issued by the Rangbah Shnong and the MLAs as supportive documents in their application which is not recognised by the Election Commission.

“The other reason is because the applicants are under-aged. Since the qualifying date is January 1, 2012, the applicant might have turned 18 after this qualifying date,” Dhar said.

He revealed that maximum of the cases rejected came from Shillong South where 206 applications were discarded.

Dhar rued that there is a misconception in the minds of the people about the Voters Facilitation Cell (VFC).

“The main purpose of the EC in setting up this VFC is to facilitate voters who wish to enroll themselves and to prevent them from facing any kind of harassment. We have received reports that on many occasions people who went to enroll themselves are harassed by the staff in the Election Branch,” Dhar said.

He also clarified that the only function of the VFC is to issue and receive the filled application forms. They have no power to accept or reject any application.

According to Dhar, it is the Electoral Registering Officer (ERO) and Assistant Electoral Registering Officer (AERO) who screen and scrutinize the application forms.

“The power to reject or accept any application lies with the ERO or AERO who are appointed by the Election Commission,” ACEO said.

He also informed that the main document on which the Election Commission relies to determine whether a person is a genuine Indian citizen is the birth certificate.

“We do not generally take the birth certificates which are submitted, as authentic. We normally send these birth certificates to the place of issuance for verification,” Dhar said.

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