Madras High Court dismisses plea to advance date of vote counting

The petitioner had said that the 45-day gap between TN’s polling date and the date of vote counting is “unfair”.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court
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The Madras High Court on Wednesday, March 27, dismissed a writ petition for quashing the election notification for Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu will go to polls in the first phase on April 19 the counting of votes is set to take place on June 4.

The writ petitioner, identified as Ezhilan, wanted the court to issue a directive to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for advancing the date of counting without the present long gap of 45 days between the date of voting and the date of counting.

However, the first bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy rejected the plea.

Ezhilan's counsel A Rajini argued that providing such a long gap of 45 days was against the spirit of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 which provides for the conduct of free and fair elections.

She also claimed that it was arbitrary and illegal to delay the counting of votes.

To this the Chief Justice asked whether there was any provision in the said Act that requires the ECI  to count the votes within a specific period. The counsel for the petitioner admitted that there was no such provision in the Act.

After recording her submission, the judges wrote, "”We do not find that the present petition espouses any public cause. It is more in the nature of a publicity interest litigation. The date of polling and counting has to be determined by only the ECI."

The first bench of the Madras High Court also said, “It will not be within the domain of the High Court by exercising its powers under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction) of the Constitution to interfere with the election programme.”

The division bench further observed, “Article 329 (bar to interference by courts into electoral matters) of the Constitution also would not permit it to interfere with the election programme.”

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