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|October 5, 1999||
SC stays Kerala High Court's judgement on booth-wise counting
The Supreme Court today stayed till further orders a judgement of the Kerala High Court, directing the Election Commission and the chief electoral officer of the state to conduct booth-wise counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections.
The impugned high court judgement delivered yesterday was stayed by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice A S Anand, Justice S Rajendra Babu and Justice R C Lahoti after a petition was filed in this connection by the Election Commission.
The court also issued notices to Mullappally Ramachandran, the Congress candidate from Kannur Lok Sabha constituency and Ashok Kumar, an independent from Alappuzha, on whose petition the high court had delivered the impugned judgement.
Earlier, senior counsel S S Nariman appearing for the Election Commission submitted that the apex court had clearly instructed all courts to refrain from interfering in the election process.
The Election Commission, he said, issued a notification on September 29 which was gazetted the following day, prescribing the method of counting. Mixing of votes was an integral part of this method of counting, he said.
This method, in practice during the 1996 and 1998 Lok sabha elections too, was ideal as it helped in protecting voters against possible harassment by the defeated candidates.
Nariman submitted that the expression 'election' in Article 329 of the Constitution referred to all the stages of election and during that period courts could not interfere in the poll process.
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