SC refuses YSRCP plea challenging relaxation of postal ballot norms by ECI in Andhra

New Delhi, June 3 (UNI) The Supreme Court Monday refused to entertain a petition filed by the YSR Congress Party challenging the relaxation of postal ballot norms by the Election Commission of India in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

The Vacation Bench of Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Sandeep Mehta dismissed the YSRCP petition saying, “We do not find any merit in the case.”

The apex court endorsed the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s decision to not interfere with the ECI’s decision and gave liberty to the petitioner to challenge it in an election petition after the declaration of results, which is happening tomorrow.

The YSR Congress Party had approached the Supreme Court challenging the ECI circular regarding the counting of postal ballots in Andhra Pradesh.

The ruling YSRCP contended that the circular dilutes the requirement of an attesting officer to put name and designation in Form 13A.

The dispute pertains to the validity of about 5 lakh votes cast in Andhra Pradesh through postal ballots (a system of voting for certain categories of persons who are unable to go to polling stations to cast a vote). As per 1961 Rules, the postal ballots are to be submitted with 3 covers – called Forms 13A, 13B and 13C.

Form 13A is a declaration to be given by the elector/voter, which is to be duly signed (by the elector) and attested by an authorized officer (who shall also put his designation along with the sign and seal).

The petitioner has assailed the Andhra Pradesh High Court order of June 1, whereby YSR Congress’ writ petition over the same issue was dismissed, with liberty to raise the contentions through an election petition.

The petitioner had urged the Apex Court that the counting of votes scheduled on June 04, 2024, take place under the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 and ECI’s instructions (of 2023).

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