SC junks YSR Congress petition challenging ECI’s postal ballot norms in state | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

SC junks YSR Congress petition challenging ECI’s postal ballot norms in state

Jun 03, 2024 02:11 PM IST

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the YSRCP, had argued that the ECI’s circular issued on May 30 altered the rules concerning postal ballots exclusively in Andhra Pradesh

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a petition filed by the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) challenging the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) relaxation of norms relating to the attestation of postal ballots in the state.

The petition had sought to overturn the Andhra Pradesh high court’s June 1 order. (HT file photo)
The petition had sought to overturn the Andhra Pradesh high court’s June 1 order. (HT file photo)

A vacation bench, comprising justices Aravind Kumar and Sandeep Mehta, upheld the Andhra Pradesh high court’s decision to not interfere with the ECI’s directive, granting the state liberty to challenge the norms through an election petition post-results declaration, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

“In the facts and circumstances of this case, we do not find any merit in the petition,” the bench observed while dismissing the YSRCP’s petition.

Also Read: Ensure postal ballots counted first, guidelines followed: INDIA bloc to EC

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing the YSRCP, had argued that the ECI’s circular issued on May 30 altered the rules concerning postal ballots exclusively in Andhra Pradesh.

According to the circular, Form 13A (the form used to request a postal ballot) could be accepted with only the signature of the attesting officer, even without the officer’s name and designation.

Singhvi contended that this change could lead to potential misuse, as any signature without proper identification could be forged.

He emphasised that postal ballots should be counted strictly per the Conduct of Election Rules, disregarding the ECI’s May 30 circular, which he argued could not supersede established rules.

Singhvi also criticised the Andhra Pradesh high court’s refusal to intervene, which was based on the availability of an alternative remedy via an election petition. He maintained that judicial interference in election matters should be permissible when aiding the election process, stressing that proper attestation requires both the stamp and seal of the officer.

But the bench remained unmoved, pointing out that the party’s challenge to the norms would boil down to rejection of votes cast through postal ballots, which can be challenged by way of an election petition.

The petition had sought to overturn the Andhra Pradesh high court’s June 1 order, which dismissed YSRCP’s writ petition but allowed the party to raise its concerns through an election petition.

The YSRCP requested that the vote counting scheduled for June 4, 2024, be conducted according to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, and the ECI’s 2023 instructions.

The dispute centers around approximately 500,000 postal ballots cast in Andhra Pradesh.

According to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, postal ballots must be signed by the elector and attested by an authorized officer; otherwise, they are to be rejected. The only exception, as per ECI’s July 2023 instructions, is if the authorized officer fails to affix their seal but includes their name and designation.

The ECI’s May 30, 2024, circular issued by the Chief Electoral Officer of Andhra Pradesh stipulated that Form 13A would be accepted even if it only contained the attesting officer’s signature.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, July 15, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On