The Madras High Court on Friday ordered Election Commission to take "all steps" to curb malpractices and money distribution to public and maintain law and order to ensure free and fair polls to the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
Disposing a batch of petitions, both challenging and supporting EC's conduct of search and seizures to prevent money flow to voters, the first bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice MY Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam said, "It is a well settled law that duty of the Election Commission, inter alia, is to prevent distribution of money to the public and the Commission should take all steps to curb those activities.
"The Supreme Court in a number of decisions held that the powers of the EC under Article 324 includes all other incidental powers, which are not specifically provided in additional to superintendence, direction and control in conducting the elections."
The judges also directed the EC to follow instructions contained in "Expenditure Monitoring in Elections" and other guidelines issued time to time to ensure free and fair polls.
The court asked them to follow the standard procedure for dealing in unaccounted cash and other valuables and in case some criminal linkage was found, seizure should be effected.
However, the bench said if cash or other valuables were being carried with proper documents, then no seizure should be made.
"The whole operation should be video graphed and the flying squad should ensure all politeness, decency and courtesy," the court said.
The bench also directed the EC to enforce 'extra ordinary' security measures till the election results were announced.