Right to contest election neither fundamental nor common law right: SC
New Delhi: The right to contest an election is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right, the Supreme Court has said while dismissing with a cost of Rs one lakh a petition which raised the issue regarding the filing of nomination for Rajya Sabha elections.
Observing that an individual cannot claim that he has a right to contest an election, the apex court noted that the Representation of People Act, 1950, read with the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, has contemplated the name of a candidate has to be proposed while filling the nomination form.
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia passed the order while hearing a plea challenging the June 10 order of the Delhi High Court which had dismissed a petition about deciding the candidature of the petitioner to file his nomination for the Rajya Sabha elections, 2022.
The petitioner had said that a notification for election to Rajya Sabha was issued on May 12, 2022, to fill up the seats of members retiring from June 21, 2022, to August 1, 2022, and the last date for submission of the nomination was May 31.
He said he had collected the nomination form but was not allowed to file his nomination without a proper proposer proposing his name.
The petitioner claimed that since his candidature without the proposer was not accepted, his fundamental right to free speech and expression and his right to personal liberty was infringed.
“We find that the writ petition before the high court was entirely misconceived and so is the present special leave petition. The right to contest an election is neither a fundamental right nor a common law right. It is a right conferred by a statute,” the apex court said in its order passed last week.
The bench, which referred to a previous judgement delivered by the top court, noted that the petitioner did not have any right to contest election to the Rajya Sabha in terms of the law made by Parliament.
“The Representation of People Act, 1950 read with the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 has contemplated the name of a candidate to be proposed while filling the nomination form,” it said.
“Therefore, an individual cannot claim that he has a right to contest an election and the said stipulation violates his fundamental right, so as to file his nomination without any proposer as is required under the Act,” the bench observed.
The apex court dismissed the petition with a cost of Rs one lakh and said the cost be paid to the Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee within four weeks.