Most of the cases booked in the run-up to 2009 general elections remain inconclusive
The Right to Information (RTI) Act has been used in many ways for different purposes by different people. The Forum for Good Governance has used the RTI Act to analyse the Indian election system in the state of Andhra Pradesh. As per the study conducted by the forum by filing Right to Information (RTI) applications with the superintendents and deputy superintendents of police of all districts in the state, it has been revealed that 2,472 cases had been booked in the run-up to 2009 general elections in the entire state. The main offences which have been cases have been booked include distributing money and liquor; hampering communal harmony and intimidation of voters. It points to the possibility of a high level of electoral malpractices in the state. However, the study found that not even half of the cases have been concluded. Out of the 2,472 cases booked during the last general elections, 298 cases were finalised through courts and 194 cases through Lok Adalats by imposing small penalties while the remaining 1,980 cases are remained pending. The conviction rate is low and most cases remain inconclusive despite framing of charges which has been termed as a mockery of Indian election system by Reddappa Reddy, a retired High Court judge and president of the forum. He pointed that the State Election Commission has to set up special courts for the purpose and should carry out due judicial process before the ensuing elections in May 2014 failing which the contestants get emboldened and will escalate the number of offence.
Critics have contended that these cases would lose any value after the ensuing elections. There has been a demand to make sure that these cases are decided within a certain time limit.