Secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections, says Supreme Court

2 min read

News: The Supreme Court in its recent judgement has held that secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections.

Facts:

Background:

  • The judgment came on an appeal against the Allahabad High Court decision setting aside the voting of a no-confidence motion in a Zila panchayat in Uttar Pradesh in 2018.
    • A no-confidence motion or vote of no-confidence or a no-trust vote can be sought to express that there is no longer confidence in the government.
  • Allahabad High court had found that some of the panchayat members had violated the rule of secrecy of the ballot.

Key Highlights of the Judgement:

  • Secrecy of ballots: It is an important part of constitutional democracy and the law must protect the right of voters to the secrecy of the ballot.
    • Section 94 of Representation of People Act which upholds the privilege of the voter to maintain confidentiality about her choice of vote.
  • Exception: A voter can voluntarily waive the privilege of non-disclosure. Hence,the privilege ends when the voter decides to waive it and decides voluntarily to disclose their vote.

Additional Facts:

  • Secrecy of Ballot: It is also known as Australian ballot.It is a voting method in which a voter’s choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation, blackmailing and potential vote buying.