international covenants

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Elections – Right of voter to vote none Candidates contested in Elections = None of the Above” (NOTA) may be provided in EVMs so that the voters= challenging the constitutional validity of Rules 41(2) & (3) and 49-O of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 (in short ‘the Rules’) to the extent that these provisions violate the secrecy of voting which is fundamental to the free and fair elections and is required to be maintained as per Section 128 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (in short ‘the RP Act’) and Rules 39 and 49-M of the Rules.- In the above backdrop, the petitioners herein prayed for declaring Rules 41(2) & (3) and 49-O of the Rules ultra vires and unconstitutional and also prayed for a direction to the Election Commission of India- Respondent No. 2 herein, to provide necessary provision in the ballot papers as well as in the electronic voting machines for the protection of the right of not to vote in order to keep the exercise of such right a secret under the existing RP Act/the Rules or under Article 324 of the Constitution.= we hold that Rules 41(2) & (3) and 49-O of the Rules are ultra vires Section 128 of the RP Act and Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution to the extent they violate secrecy of voting. In view of our conclusion, we direct the Election Commission to provide necessary provision in the ballot papers/EVMs and another button called “None of the Above” (NOTA) may be provided in EVMs so that the voters, who come to the polling booth and decide not to vote for any of the candidates in the fray, are able to exercise their right not to vote while maintaining their right of secrecy. Inasmuch as the Election Commission itself is in favour of the provision for NOTA in EVMs, we direct the Election Commission to implement the same either in a phased manner or at a time with the assistance of the Government of India. We also direct the Government of India to provide necessary help for implementation of the above direction. Besides, we also direct the Election Commission to undertake awareness programmes to educate the masses. 62) The writ petition is disposed of with the aforesaid directions.

published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40835         REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA   CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION 1 WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 161 OF 2004   People’s Union for Civil Liberties & Anr. …. Petitioner (s)   Versus   Union of India & Anr. …. Respondent(s)   2   J U D G M E … Continue reading

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