Home Constitutional News Courts Supreme Court rejects plea seeking secret ballot in Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Councils elections

Supreme Court rejects plea seeking secret ballot in Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Councils elections

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Supreme Court rejects plea seeking secret ballot in Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Councils elections
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The Supreme Court has disposed of a petition that sought secret ballot in elections to the Rajya Sabha and State Legislative Councils, observing that the open ballot system was needed to prevent cross voting and maintain party discipline.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala further upheld the validity of sub-section of 1 of Section 33 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, which stipulated that if a candidate contesting for either Rajya Sabha or state Legislative Council, was not proposed by a political party, he was required to have subscription by 10 elected members.

Noting that there was nothing per se discriminatory in the provision, the Apex Court ruled that Parliament was entitled to regulate the manner in which the nomination was presented. 

While dismissing the petition filed by NGO Lok Prahari, challenging the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and Representation of the People (RP) Act, the top court of the country ruled that the matter fell completely within the legislative domain.

As per Rule 39AA of the Conduct of Election Rules, it was mandatory for an MLA and an MP to show the marked ballot paper to the polling agent of a political party in polls for both Rajya Sabha and state Legislative Councils.

The petition had challenged the provision under Rule 39AA that if an MLA or an MP did not show his marked ballot paper to the polling agent of the party, his vote would be cancelled.

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