Kerala High Court: The Bench of Shaji P. Chaly, J. was seized of a petition seeking directions to ensure the conduct of elections in a free and fair manner in certain booths of Kannur Lok Sabha constituency.

The present petition was filed by Chairman of the Election Committee of the United Democratic Front (UDF) seeking a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction, commanding the respondent to webcast the entire election process inside certain polling booths of Taliparamba Legislative Assembly constituency of Kannur Lok Sabha constituency in the general elections scheduled to be held on 23-04-2019; and to install movie-cameras outside booths, construct barricades and control the entry of voters after verification of their identity cards.

The Court observed that the tenor of petitioner’s pleadings indicated apprehension of interference with fair and free poll during the election to the Parliament at Kannur constituency scheduled on 23-04-2019. It took note of the statement filed by the Election Commission of India assuring that all steps were being taken to ensure free and fair election such as – deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and State Armed Police (SAP) well in advance for patrolling, securing of strong rooms used for storing EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail). Thus, the respondent authority was ensuring a conducive atmosphere for each elector’s access to the polling station and casting of the vote without any obstruction or intimidation/ undue influence.

In view of the respondent’s statements, the Court recorded that sufficient precaution and necessary steps were being taken to conduct web-casting, and there were necessary protections for places where web-casting was not available. The petition was disposed of with the said opinion.[C. Moideen v. Chief Electoral Officer, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 1281, Order dated 17-04-2019]

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