HC: no bar on performing aarathi of candidates
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HC: no bar on performing aarathi of candidates

By Thehindu   04-May-2019

HC: no bar on performing aarathi of candidates

Given all kinds of crafty methods adopted by politicians to bribe voters during elections, a woman advocate had filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court to ban voters from performing aarathi of candidates contesting in the Tirupparankundram byelection, but the court has said a firm no to the imposition of any such blanket ban.
A Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad said: “Performing aarathi (the Indian practice of welcoming near and dear by warding off evil eyes cast on them with a piece of lighted camphor placed atop a betel leaf) is traditional. There cannot be a ban on such a practice at any point of time and election is no exception.”
The judges went on to state that the PIL petitioner, K. Thanga Meenakshi, an advocate by profession, had no constitutional or statutory right to seek a direction to either the Election Commission or any other authority to issue a fiat against the practice of performing aarathi, just because it was used as an excuse to drop cash on the plates of voters.
Observing that the prayer sought by the petitioner was “wholly misconceived”, the Bench said: “If any candidate offers money to the voters when aarathi is performed, it is open to the petitioner to bring it to the notice of the respondents (Chief Electoral Officer, District Electoral Officer and Returning Officer of the Assembly constituency) with proof.”

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