RS polls: ECI opposes Suhas Kande's plea; says MLA breached voting protocol

Kande had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the ECI’s decision declaring his vote cast on June 10 in the Rajya Sabha elections as invalid.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 02:51 PM IST
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Shiv Sena MLA Suhas Kande | ANI

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has opposed the petition filed by Shiv Sena Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Suhas Kande claiming that the MLA breached the voting protocol and ballot paper confidentiality by failing to fold the ballot paper after casting his vote.

Kande had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the ECI’s decision declaring his vote cast on June 10 in the Rajya Sabha elections as invalid.

Seeking quashing of the ECI's decision, Kande's petition stated that the ECI’s decision discharging his vote has caused grave prejudice to his dignity and reputation.

The ECI has also raised a preliminary objection to the maintainability of Kande’s plea.

On Wednesday, ECI counsel Abhinav Chandrachud contended that Kande ought to have filed an election petition and not a writ petition and sought dismissal of the petition.

Kande’s counsels, Anil Anturkar and Ajnikya Udane, however, argued that the ECI did not give any opportunity to the MLA and was not heard before passing the order.

Also, the objection to vote cast by Kande was made after the ballot paper was put in the election box and not before. He added that ECI did not record any findings while disqualifying the vote.

On election day, after the votes were cast, BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar, a Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) MLA, accused Kande of showing his ballot paper to a whip of a political party other than the Shiv Sena.

According to Kande's plea, on June 10, he had cast his vote and showed the ballot paper to Shiv Sena leader Sunil Prabhu, who had issued a whip for the polls. The plea stated that Sagar ought to have raised this objection at that time and not after Kande left the electoral hall.

Later that evening, several BJP leaders met with the ECI raising the same grievance. The Election Officer, Rajendra Bhagwat, dismissed Sagar's protest after deciding that the allegations were factually wrong.

Kande then approached the HC challenging the ECI order and seeking quashing of the same.

It has also asked for a temporary injunction restraining the Election Commission from exercising appellate power over the Election Officer's orders.

A division bench of justices SV Gangapurwala and DS Thakur has kept Kande’s petition for hearing on June 24.

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