Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Chennai Police Commissioner to intensify vigil in the limits of Corporation wards 18 and 44—where the by-election is scheduled for September 18—from today to ensure persons with questionable criminal record are not allowed entry.

Disposing of a public interest litigation petition seeking a directive to the authorities to conduct free and fair elections, the First Bench of Chief Justice A.K.Ganguly and Justice F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla said that on election eve, police authorities were entitled to make preventive arrests for maintaining law and order.

It directed the Commissioner to take all steps to ensure that no person with criminal antecedents was given a free hand on the election date.

Identity cards

As the court was informed that the voter list contained the photographs of all valid voters, it directed that the voters be allowed to exercise their franchise on the basis of their identity cards or other documents for identity proof.

No person who was not a genuine voter and without a valid identity card should be allowed within 200 metres of the polling booth.