New Delhi [India], July 23 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday said that any attempt of booth capturing or bogus voting should be dealt with iron hands as it ultimately affects the rule of law and democracy.
A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah, referring to its earlier verdicts, said that the freedom to vote is a part of the freedom of expression and the secrecy of the vote is necessary for strengthening democracy.
The apex court said the essence of the electoral system should be to ensure freedom to voters to exercise their free choice.
The court dismissed an appeal by a man convicted for rioting at a poll booth in Jharkhand.
"The essence of the electoral system should be to ensure freedom of voters to exercise their free choice. Therefore, any attempt of booth capturing or bogus voting should be dealt with iron hands because it ultimately affects rule of law and democracy," the court said.
It said in elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures maintenance of secrecy is a must.
It added that in democracies where direct elections take place it is important to ensure that voter casts his vote without fear.
"Democracy and free elections are part of the basic structure of the Constitution. An election is a mechanism that ultimately represents the will of the people. Nobody can be permitted to dilute the right to free and fair elections," the Bench said referring its earlier verdict.
The accused in the case had allegedly formed an unlawful assembly "to snatch the voters' list and to cast bogus voting" and attacked some political workers during an election. The apex court said the use of force even by one member of the assembly amounts to rioting.
Accused Lakshman Singh had filed an appeal in the top court challenging the High Court order that confirmed the trial court's six-month punishment to him under sections 323 (voluntary causing hurt) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code. (ANI)