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Lok Sabha Polls 2024 | SC refuses to entertain plea on 'namesake' candidates

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea that sought a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to take urgent steps for an effective mechanism to solve the issue of "namesake" candidates contesting polls.
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 10:56 IST
Last Updated : 03 May 2024, 10:56 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a plea that sought a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to take urgent steps for an effective mechanism to solve the issue of "namesake" candidates contesting polls.

After a bench headed by Justice B R Gavai showed disinclination to entertain the plea, the petitioner's counsel sought permission to withdraw it.

The bench, also comprising Justices Satish Chandra Sharma and Sandeep Mehta, allowed the petition to be withdrawn.

"If somebody is born as Rahul Gandhi or if somebody is born as Lalu Prasad Yadav, how can they be prevented from contesting elections? Would it not be affecting their rights?" the bench asked advocate V K Biju, who appeared in the court on behalf of petitioner Sabu Steephen.

Describing the issue as "extremely serious", Biju had referred to Rule 22(3) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, which says if two or more candidates bear the same name, they shall be distinguished by the addition of their occupation or residence or in some other manner.

"If somebody's parents have given a similar name, can it come in their way of their right to contest elections?" the bench asked.

"You know what is the fate of the case," it told Biju.

The lawyer then told the bench that he be allowed to withdraw the petition.

"Allowed to withdraw," the bench said.

The plea said the "wrong practice of fielding 'namesake' candidates is an old trick to create confusion in the minds of voters".

It said such a practice is required to be curtailed on a war-footing since "each and every vote" has its power to decide a candidate's future.

"Therefore, that the 'confusion' needs to be replaced with 'clarity' is the need of the hour, which can be achieved by way of proper amendment, modifications in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. Moreover, it is an unhealthy and corrupted democratic practice," the petition said.

It claimed that the "namesake" candidates may not have any knowledge and awareness about the political and administrative systems in India and they are getting "sponsorships" from rival political parties, including money, materials and other offers.

"However, the petitioner is not claiming that all the independent candidates are fake or not saying that those candidates do not have the right to contest. However, an effective scrutiny and appropriate mechanism should be there to avoid the namesake candidates, which is the need of the hour," the plea said.

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Published 03 May 2024, 10:56 IST

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