SC declines PIL against 'first-past-the-post' system

SC declines PIL against 'first-past-the-post' system

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a public interest petition challenging the election rules which permitted a candidate with the largest votes to get elected to Parliament and legislative houses.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice P Sathasivam dismissed the petition filed by advocate M L Sharma who argued that sub rule 64 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 was contrary to the Constitution, which “does not recognize the largest word anywhere”.

According to the election rules, a candidate who gets the largest number of votes gets elected to Parliament or a state Assembly. This is commonly known as first-past-the-post, as opposed to a system based on proportional representation.

“It is for legislature to act in such kind of matter… we cannot entertain anything,” the bench said, after hearing brief submission by Sharma.

The court also pointed that the petitioner had not filed any relevant material in his PIL to indicate how the rule was ultra vires.

The petitioner-advocate claimed that in the present system, the political parties divided votes by way of putting various candidates, leading to the one candidate having the largest vote getting elected which was “a fraud upon Constitutional systems”.

In his support, the petitioner presented a chart showing how in the Assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh in 2007, a candidate could win with less than one-fifth of the total votes in a constituency. He, however, failed to impress the court.

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