Secrecy of ballot

• The Supreme Court has held in a judgment that Secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections.

Key highlights of the judgement:

• Section 94 of the Representation of the People Act upholds the privilege of the voter to maintain confidentiality about her choice of vote.

• The principle of secrecy of ballots is an important postulate of constitutional democracy. The choice of a voter should be free and the secret ballot system in a democracy ensures it.

• Even a remote or distinct possibility that a voter can be forced to disclose for whom she has voted would act as a positive constraint and a check on the freedom to exercise of franchise.

• However, a voter can also voluntarily waive the privilege of non-disclosure. The privilege ends when the voter decides to waive the privilege and instead volunteers to disclose as to whom she had voted. No one can prevent a voter from doing. Nor can a complaint be entertained as to why she disclosed for whom she voted.

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Mains Paper 2: Polity

Prelims level: Section 94 of the Representation of the People Act

Mains level: Key highlights of the judgement in this regard

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