Right to contest election is not a fundamental right: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on 13 September 2022 has ruled that the right to contest an election is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right but a right conferred by statute. It was giving its ruling on a Special Leave petition filed by Mr Vishwanath Pratap Singh challenging Delhi High Court judgment which had dismissed a similar petition.
IMPORTANT FACTS -
Vishwanath Pratap Singh Vs Election Commission of India 2022 case :
- The petitioner Vishwanath Pratap Singh wanted to contest the Rajya Sabha election to be held in June 2022. He said he had collected the nomination form but was not allowed by the Election Commission to file his nomination without a proper proposer proposing his name.
- The petitioner claimed that since his candidature without the proposer was not accepted, his fundamental right to free speech and expression and his right to personal liberty was infringed.
- The Delhi High Court had in its Judgment dismissed his petition that his fundamental right was infringed.
Supreme Court Judgment :
- A two judge bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia while referring to earlier judgments viz Javed v. State of Haryana, (2003) and Rajbala v. State of Haryana (2016) , dismissing his plea observed that the right to contest election was neither a fundamental right nor a common law right. It is a right conferred by a statute."
- The bench noted that the petitioner did not have any right to contest election to the Rajya Sabha in terms of the law made by Parliament.
- The Court said that "The Representation of People Act, 1950 read with the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 has contemplated the name of a candidate to be proposed while filling the nomination form,".
- "Therefore, an individual cannot claim that he has a right to contest an election and the said stipulation violates his fundamental right, so as to file his nomination without any proposer as is required under the Act," the bench observed.
- The Supreme Court dismissed the petition with a cost of ₹ one lakh and said the cost be paid to the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee within four weeks.
Proposer and Seconder :
- To discourage non-serious candidates from contesting elections, the law provides that a candidate who wants to contest election will have to file a nomination paper which has to be signed by proposer and endorsed by seconder.
- The person who is a proposer cannot become an endorser.
- The proposer and seconder are the voters who are eligible to vote for the particular post which is being contested.
The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Election Acts 1952 provides for the proposer and seconder for the Presidential and Vice Presidential polls.
They are as follows :
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION -
For Parliament and State Legislature elections
- According to the section 33 (1) of Representation of People Act, 1951 , a candidate who belongs to a recognised political party, needs only 1 proposer (voter of the constituency from where the candidate is fighting election) for filing nomination to contest Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha or Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council election.
- If the candidate is from an unrecognized political party or Independent then the proposer requirement is 10.
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