Challenge to poll results
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has filed an election petition in the Calcutta High Court challenging the Assembly election result of Nandigram constituency, where she had contested and lost.
Critically examine the effectiveness of Electoral Trust Scheme and electoral bonds to make Indian elections more transparent. What other reforms are needed to make Indian election process more fair?
What is an election petition?
● Post results, an election petition is the only legal remedy available to a voter or a candidate who believes there has been malpractice in an election.
● An election petition submitted to the High Court of the state in which the constituency is located.
● Such a petition has to be filed within 45 days from the date of the poll results; nothing is entertained by courts after that.
o Although the Representative of the People Act of 1951 suggests that the High Court should try to conclude the trial within six months, it usually drags on for much longer, even years.
Under Section 100 of the RP Act, an election petition can be filed on the grounds that:
● Section 123 of the RP Act has a detailed list of what amounts to corrupt practice, including bribery, use of force or coercion, appeal to vote or refrain from voting on grounds of religion, race, community, and language.
● Improper acceptance of the nomination of the winning candidate or improper rejection of a nomination.
● Malpractice in the counting process, which includes improper reception, refusal or rejection of any vote, or the reception of any vote which is void.
● Non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution or the RP Act or any rules or orders made under the RP Act.
● Indira Gandhi Election: In 1975, the Allahabad High Court verdict had set aside Indira Gandhi’s election from Rae Bareli constituency, four years earlier on grounds of corrupt practice.