Supreme Court says secrecy of vote a must in any election

A view of Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

The Supreme Court on Friday held that in any election, be it to Parliament or State legislature, the maintenance of secrecy of voting is “a must”.

Secrecy is a part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression. The confidentiality of choice strengthened democracy, it stated.

“In direct elections to the Lok Sabha or State legislature, the maintenance of secrecy is a must and is insisted upon all over the world in democracies where direct elections are involved to ensure that a voter casts his vote without any fear or being victimised if his vote is disclosed,” a Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah held.

Any attempt at booth-capturing or bogus voting were crimes against democracy and should be dealt with iron hands. “Booth capturing and/or bogus voting should be dealt with iron hands, because it ultimately affects the rule of law and democracy. Nobody can be permitted to dilute the right to free and fair election, the Bench observed.

Democracy and free elections were a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution, Justice Shah, who authored the judgment, noted. “An election is a mechanism which ultimately represents the will of the people. The essence of the electoral system should be to ensure freedom of voters to exercise their free choice,” he said.

The court, in its judgment, confirmed the guilt and sentencing of eight men accused of using violence to snatch the voters slips and to cast bogus voting in an election in Bihar in 1989.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 8:32:24 PM |

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