In the High Court of Kerala
2019 (3) KHC 548, 2019(3) KLJ331
The Chief Election Commissioner of Kerala
Date of Judgement
10 June 2019
Hon’ble Justice S.P. Chaly
Facts of the case
Petitioner is a permanent resident of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, and he holds an Electoral Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India. According to the petitioner, name of the petitioner was in the voters’ list ever since he had the voting right. However, in the voters’ list prepared for the purpose of election to Lok Sabha scheduled on 23.04.2019, the name of the petitioner is struck off from the electoral rolls, whereas his wife’s and daughter’s names were in the voters list. The petitioner approached the statutory authorities, there was no improvement in the matter, and thereupon, petitioner has submitted an application before the respondent, requesting to interfere in the matter and restore his voting right. But, in spite of the same, no action was initiated, which persuaded the petitioner to approach this Court by filing this writ petition.
The key issue before the Hon’ble HC was whether a person’s name can be removed from voters list without hearing the person.
The respondent contended that, by virtue of the provisions contained under Sections 22 and 23 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, inclusion in the electoral roll was not possible and since the petitioner’s name was not in the electoral roll, petitioner is not entitled to vote.
Further, it was contended that the petitioner’s name was in the electoral roll. However, at the time of continuous revision of electoral roll, the name of the petitioner was deleted from the electoral roll on the ground that the petitioner had ceased to be an ordinarily resident of the said constituency, since the petitioner has shifted his residence elsewhere.
Lastly, it was argued that the petitioner did not submit objection to deletion of his name from the electoral roll. Anyhow, after one year thereafter, another summary revision of electoral roll was undertaken by the Commission and draft electoral roll was published and claims and objections were invited to the said draft electoral roll. But the petitioner did not file any objection and also did not make any claim for inclusion of his name in the electoral roll.
Decision of the Hon’ble HC
The court ordered the respondent to conduct detailed enquiry in the subject matter, and if required, take appropriate action against the officers who have removed the name of the petitioner from the voters list, at the earliest, and at any rate, within two months from the date of judgement.
1. 22 and S. 23 of the 1950 act are peremptory in nature and can never be brushed aside or overlooked. It is clearly stated that before removing a person from the voters list, the electoral registration officer is duty bound to give the person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of the action proposed to be taken. The same is not an empty formality, but on the other hand, founded on principles of natural justice, which if violated, action becomes arbitrary and illegal inviting action against the officer concerned.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje