This section defines the offence of personation at elections. The offence is punishable under section 171-F. According to this section whoever at an election applies for a voting paper or votes in the name of any other person, whether living or dead or fictitious, or where he has already voted once such election but applies again for a voting paper in his own name at such election, and whoever abets, procures or attempts to procure the voting by any person in such a way as stated above, is guilty of committing the offence of personation at an election.

Applying for a voting paper, or voting, in the name of another person is an offence under this section. It is not necessary that the person personated be a living person; it could be a dead or even a fictitious person. Having already voted once, applying in one’s own name for a voting paper again at the same election is also an offence under this section. Similarly, abetting, procuring or attempting to procure the voting in above discussed manner is also personating at an election within the meaning of this section.

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By a new proviso inserted in the section by the Election Laws (Amended) Act, 2003 it has been provided that nothing in this shall apply to a person who has been authorised to vote as proxy to an elector.

In Achcha Bhoomanna v. Court of District Munsif though there was no reference to section 171-D in the election petition, the Andhra Pradesh High Court observed that what is relevant for the purpose of section 171-D is ‘procuring the voting of a person’ and not ‘procuring the vote’ of a person. Voting by a person in a particular manner is not relevant, that is to say, procuring of a vote is not necessary.

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