Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Division Bench comprising of S.Manikumar, CJ., and Shaji P. Chaly, J., heard the instant PIL whereby, MLA Ramesh Chennithal had approached the Court for seeking issuance of directions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure that fake/multiple entry voters in the electoral roll for the election to the Kerala Legislative Assembly were not permitted to vote. The Bench directed,

“Election Commission should also ensure that sufficient State/Central force is posted at all voting places, to ensure fair and democratic election.”

 The petitioner contended that there were multiple entries of the voters in various places, which according to the petitioner was about 3,24,441 double votes and 1,09,601 bogus votes in the final electoral roll published on 20-01-2021, spreading over 131 Assembly Constituencies, and in total 4,34,042 double/fake votes in the final electoral rolls. The petitioner further submitted that though complaints were made to the Election Commission to correct the electoral roll, no steps had been taken and the voting is scheduled on 06-04-2021.

Assessing the seriousness of the matter, the petitioner had sought for a mandamus, directing the respondents to take immediate actions, and rectify the electoral roll by deleting or freezing fake/multiple votes and also to ensure that those fake/multiple entry voters were not permitted to vote in the election in any polling booths.

To substantiate his allegations, the petitioner submitted a computerized printout of the voters of 134 Thiruvananthapuram Central Constituency and CDs. On perusal of the same, the Bench observed that while the photographs of the voters being the same, names, booth numbers and serial numbers were different.

The Bench asked the Election Commission of India, whether it had any mechanism to find out the chances of multiple entry, in case of absence/shifting or for any other reason. The Bench stated,

“We are of the prima facie view that there are discrepancies in the final voters list published by the Election Commission.”

 Agreeing with the argument of the petitioner that the presence of multiple entries in the voters list would facilitate a voter to cast twice, which is not permissible in law, the Bench directed the ECI to ensure that there was no double voting by any voter. ECI was further directed to ensure that sufficient State/Central force is posted at all voting places, to ensure fair and democratic election. Lastly, the Bench stated,

To implement the above, steps should be taken on war footing basis. Orders of this Court should be implemented in letter and spirit, without any room for compliant.”

[Ramesh Chennithala v. Election Commission of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 1613, decided on 29-03-2021]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Adv. T. Asaf Ali,

For the Respondents: Adv. Deepu Lal Mohan

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court of The United States: The Court on Friday rejected a bid from Texas’ Attorney General, supported by President Donald Trump, to block the ballots of millions of voters in battleground states that went in favor of President-elect Joe Biden. Texas’ motion for leave to file a bill of complaint was denied due to lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution. The Court further observed that, “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections”. Although, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, JJ., noted that they would have allowed the case to be filed – “I would therefore grant the motion to file the bill of complaint but would not grant other relief, and I express no view on any other issue”.

In the recently held US Presidential Elections, the “Swing States” of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin, swung in favour of Joe Biden. The lawsuit was brought by Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton, who sought to sue the abovementioned States and invalidate their election results.

Incumbent President, Mr. Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly raised allegations of foul play committed during counting of the votes; especially in the “Swing States”.

This is not the first instance of thwarting the Republican Party’s efforts to challenge the legitimacy of the Election results. On 08-12-2020, the SCOTUS in a “one sentence” Order, refused a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state of Pennsylvania. The Republicans have lost about 50 challenges to the presidential election, as Judges in at least eight states have repeatedly rejected a litany of unproven claims — that mail-in ballots were improperly sent out, that absentee ballots were counted wrongly, that poll observers were not given proper access to the vote count and that foreign powers hacked into and manipulated voting machines.

[Texas v. Pennsylvania, decided on 11-12-2020]

Source: CNN

Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The writ petition was filed before a Single Judge Bench comprising of Salil Kumar Rai, J., against judgment and order passed by Deputy District Magistrate where an Election Petition filed by petitioner was dismissed.

Facts of the case were that one of the respondents was the elected Gram Pradhan of the village, against whose election, petitioner filed an Election Petition. In the election petition, the remedy sought by petitioner was the recounting of votes after which the election of respondent was to be set aside and petitioner was to be declared elected. The Deputy District Magistrate dismissed the Election Petition stating that petitioner failed to establish her case.

Petitioner contended that she received 233 votes and the Returning Officer had shown petitioner to have received only 184 votes declaring rest 49 votes polled in favour of the petitioner as invalid. Election petition stated that it was due to the above invalidation of votes respondent won the election with 195 votes.

High Court was of the view that judgment and order passed by the Magistrate gave reasons for dismissal of the petition and all the evidence submitted by petitioner was considered by Magistrate. Therefore, Court dismissed this writ for lack of merit. [Sutura Devi v. State of U.P.,2018 SCC OnLine All 1564, order dated 27-09-2018]