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Right to contest elections neither fundamental nor common law right: Supreme Court

The right to contest an election is neither a basic right nor a common law right, the Supreme Court ruled in dismissing a plea challenging the filing of nominations for Rajya Sabha elections at a cost of Rs one lakh.

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New Delhi: The right to contest an election is neither a basic right nor a common law right, the Supreme Court ruled in dismissing a plea challenging the filing of nominations for Rajya Sabha elections at a cost of Rs one lakh.

Right to contest elections neither fundamental nor common law right: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The highest court remarked that the Representation of People Act, 1950, read with the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, envisioned that the name of a candidate needs to be proposed while filling out the nomination form, and that an individual cannot argue that he has the right to contest an election.

The decision was made by a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia during a hearing on an appeal against the Delhi High Court’s dismissal of a petition on June 10 regarding the petitioner’s eligibility to run for office in the Rajya Sabha elections in 2022.

According to the petitioner, a notice of election to the Rajya Sabha was issued on May 12, 2022, to fill the seats of members who would be leaving office between June 21, 2022, and August 1, 2022, and that the deadline for submitting nominations was May 31.

He claimed to have gathered the nomination paperwork but was unable to submit it without a proper proposer putting up his name.

The petitioner said that his fundamental rights to free speech and expression and personal liberty had been violated because his nomination without the proposer was rejected.

“We find that the writ petition before the high court was entirely misconceived and so is the present special leave petition. The right to contest an election is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right. It is a right conferred by a statute,” the apex court said in its order passed last week.

The panel noted that, in accordance with the law passed by Parliament, the petitioner had no right to run for election to the Rajya Sabha and cited a prior ruling rendered by the top court in making this observation.

“The Representation of People Act, 1950 read with the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 has contemplated the name of a candidate to be proposed while filling the nomination form,” it said.

“Therefore, an individual cannot claim that he has a right to contest an election and the said stipulation violates his fundamental right, so as to file his nomination without any proposer as is required under the Act,” the bench observed.

The Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee must receive payment of the costs within four weeks after the petition was dismissed with a cost of Rs. 1 lakh.

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