Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of Sheel Nagu and G.S. Ahluwalia, JJ. entertained a writ by the way of PIL where the litigant sought, CBI investigation into the matter related to the theft of Electronic Voting Machines which were to be used in Lok Sabha elections of 2019.

The petitioner U.K. Bohare contended the matter in person, where he accused the officers of the Election Commission of theft and criminal breach of trust of EVMs. The petitioner sought to punish such officers involved and to seek the cost of lost EVMs from the Central Government. According to the petitioner the EVMs which were stolen were used in Gwalior and Chambal illegally and hence, CBI investigation was vehemently pleaded.

The Court, observed that it was evident that the public cause sought to be raised herein was in respect of an alleged incident of missing 19 Lakhs EVM (Electronic Voter Machine) during the parliamentary election of 2019. The Court further stated that though it was a serious matter, which had to be looked into, information gathered by petitioner was based on unconfirmed, uncorroborated and unreliable newspaper reports. Petitioner preferred representation to the Election Commission of India related to his aforesaid grievance. The court held, “court is of the considered view that pleadings herein lack bare essential material to impel this court to initiate the process of adjudication of the alleged public cause and therefore, this court declines interference.” Hence, the petition was dismissed giving liberty to the petitioner to represent his case before the Election Commission of India.[Umesh Kumar Bohare v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 928, decided on 27-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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]