Monday, July 15, 2024

SC dismisses plea filed against ECI relaxing postal ballot norms


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New Delhi, June 3: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to entertain a petition filed by the YSR Congress Party challenging the Election Commission of India’s circular relaxing the norms for deciding on the validity of postal ballots.

A bench of Justices Aravind Kumar and Sandeep Mehta said that in the facts and circumstances of the case, it does not find any merit in the matter and declined to interfere with the Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissing the writ petition filed by YSRCP on the grounds of existence of an alternate remedy and refused to consider the matter on merits.

The Election Commission of India (ECI), in its May 30 circular, asked the election officials to consider the postal ballot as valid even if the postal ballot declaration form has no name, designation, or seal but has the signature of the attesting officer.

The special leave petition filed before the apex court, through advocate Mahfooz A. Nazki, stated that the results of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, as well as Parliament constituencies, are scheduled to be declared on Tuesday and in the event invalid votes are taken into account, the same is bound to cause grave prejudice to the YSR Congress Party.

It said, “The judgment of the Hon’ble High Court is ex-facie unsustainable since the bar under Article 329(b) of the Constitution of India would apply only if the petitioner was seeking to impede the process of election or question the election itself. On the contrary, the petitioner is only challenging a Circular issued by the ECI and is not challenging any specific election. The challenge is made to ensure that a free and fair election process takes place without any semblance of mala fide/ bias.”

In the recently-held polls for the 175-member Assembly and the state’s 25 Lok Sabha seats, more than five lakh postal ballots were polled, setting a new record in the state’s history.



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