As polling day approaches, stringent measures have been put in place to maintain order and ensure the smooth conduct of elections across polling stations. Security personnel were found deployed in various parts of Mokokchung as a preemptive measure to deter potential violence as polling day approaches.

The Nagaland Municipal Act 2023 outlines penalties for disorderly conduct and misconduct at polling stations, aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the voting process and protecting the rights of voters. This news report highlights the regulations surrounding conduct at polling stations as per the Act.

According to the Act, disorderly conduct in or near polling station can attract penalty.

Using or operating any amplifying apparatus like megaphones or loudspeakers within or near polling stations, or shouting or acting in a disorderly manner that causes annoyance or interferes with polling station operations, are strictly prohibited.

Violation of these rules can lead to imprisonment for up to three months, imposition of fines, or both.

The Presiding Officer of a polling station has the authority to direct police officers to arrest individuals suspected of contravening the above provisions.

Further, police officers are empowered to use reasonable force to prevent violations and seize any equipment used for amplification in contravention of the rules.

Misconduct and Removal from Polling Stations

Any person who engages in misconduct during polling hours or disobeys lawful directions from the Presiding Officer may be immediately removed from the polling station by the Presiding Officer or by any Police Officer on duty or by authorized personnel.

Re-entering the polling station after removal without permission constitutes a punishable offence, with potential imprisonment for up to three months, fines, or both.

Offences under these provisions are classified as cognizable, allowing for immediate police action and arrest without a warrant.

These measures envisage commitment to conducting free, fair, and peaceful elections. They aim to deter disruptive behavior that could undermine the voting process or intimidate voters. The penalties serve as a deterrent while ensuring that voting rights are protected and polling stations operate efficiently. However, it remains to be seen whether these measures will be effectively implemented.

Mokokchung Times

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