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Supreme Court verdict directing the Election Commission to introduce NOTA in EVMs

Supreme Court verdict directing the Election Commission to introduce NOTA in EVMs

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Supreme Court verdict directing the Election Commission to introduce NOTA in EVMs
Supreme Court verdict directing the Election Commission to introduce NOTA in EVMs

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Published by: Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu on Sep 27, 2013
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02/08/2014

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REPORTABLEIN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIACIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTIONWRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 161 OF 2004
People’s Union for CivilLiberties & Anr. .... Petitioner (s)VersusUnion of India & Anr. .... Respondent(s)
 
 J U D G M E N T
P.Sathasivam, CJI.
1)The present writ petition, under Article 32 of theConstitution of India, has been filed by the petitioners hereinchallenging the constitutional validity of Rules 41(2) & (3)and 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 (in short ‘theRules’) to the extent that these provisions violate the secrecyof voting which is fundamental to the free and fair electionsand is required to be maintained as per Section 128 of the
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Representation of the People Act, 1951 (in short ‘the RP Act’)and Rules 39 and 49-M of the Rules.2)The petitioners herein have preferred this petition forthe issuance of a writ or direction(s) of like nature on theground that though the above said Rules, viz., Rules 41(2) &(3) and 49-O, recognize the right of a voter not to vote butstill the secrecy of his having not voted is not maintained inits implementation and thus the impugned rules, to theextent of such violation of the right to secrecy, are not only
ultra vires
to the said Rules but also violative of Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India besides InternationalCovenants.3)In the above backdrop, the petitioners herein prayed fordeclaring Rules 41(2) & (3) and 49-O of the Rules
ultra vires
and unconstitutional and also prayed for a direction to theElection Commission of India-Respondent No. 2 herein, toprovide necessary provision in the ballot papers as well as inthe electronic voting machines for the protection of the rightof not to vote in order to keep the exercise of such right a
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secret under the existing RP Act/the Rules or under Article324 of the Constitution.4)On 23.02.2009, a Division Bench of this Court, on anobjection with regard to maintainability of the writ petition onthe ground that right to vote is not a fundamental right but isa statutory right, after considering
Union of India
vs.
 Association for Democratic Reforms and Anr.
(2002) 5SCC 294 and
People’s Union for Civil Liberties
vs.
Unionof India
(2003) 4 SCC 399 held that even though the judgment in
Kuldip Nayar & Ors.
vs.
Union of India &Ors.
(2006) 7 SCC 1 did not overrule or discard the ratio laiddown in the judgments mentioned above, however, it createsa doubt in this regard, referred the matter to a larger Benchto arrive at a decision.5)One Centre for Consumer Education and Association forDemocratic Reforms have filed applications for impleadmentin this Writ Petition. Impleadment applications are allowed.
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