Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay on Thursday filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking to make bribery and other electoral offences such as undue influence and impersonation punishable with a minimum of two years in prison, reported Live Law.

Upadhyay said bribery and such other electoral offences affect the conduct of free and fair elections. “[The year] 2000 onward, not only in the Parliament and state Assembly election – even in the bye-election – bribery is used to support particular political parties and candidates, which is against the basic dictum of democracy and free and fair elections in spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 324 of the Constitution of India,” the plea said.

Under the current law, bribery and impersonation at elections are offences that entail a punishment of up to one year in prison, or fine, or both. Publishing a false statement in connection with elections is punishable with fine only. “These punishments were provided far back in 1920,” said the petition.

It added: “Considering the gravity of election offences under the aforesaid sections in the context of free and fair elections, the Election Commission in 1992 proposed that punishments for above-stated election offences should be enhanced to two years and made cognisable.”