2021 Kerala Assembly Polls: SC Notices On CPI(M) Leader’s Plea Against Election Of K Babu

2021 Kerala Assembly Polls

The Supreme Court on Monday has agreed to hear a plea by CPI(M) leader M Swaraj seeking to invalidate Congress leader K Babu’s election from the Thrippunithura seat in the 2021 assembly polls.

The plea alleges that Babu used the image of Lord Ayyappa in voting slips, which is claimed to be a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951.

A bench of Justices Surya Kant and Ujjal Bhuyan has issued a notice to Babu, requesting his response to the plea. The Supreme Court is addressing an appeal by Swaraj against an April 11 order by the Kerala High Court, which rejected Swaraj’s petition due to insufficient proof that Babu engaged in corrupt practices.

Swaraj’s election petition argued that Babu, a former Kerala minister, used Lord Ayyappa’s image in voting slips distributed to voters, which constitutes a corrupt practice according to the RP Act. The Kerala High Court, referencing Supreme Court judgments, stated that soliciting votes using a deity’s name or image is a corrupt practice.

However, the High Court found no substantial evidence to support the claim that such slips were distributed by Babu’s agents with his consent. The testimonies from witnesses were deemed unreliable, as their accounts were vague and appeared rehearsed. Additionally, the High Court questioned why no complaint was made to cVIGIL, the Election Commission’s portal for reporting election malpractices.

In response, Swaraj stated he filed a police complaint instead, believing that the police could take immediate action. The High Court rejected this argument, noting that Swaraj had used cVIGIL for other complaints.

The Supreme Court will now review the matter further.

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About the Author: Meera Verma