SC notice to Joshi on tender votes

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to rural development minister C.P. Joshi and Election Commission on an appeal by BJP MLA from Rajasthan on the issue of ‘tender” votes ordered to be counted by the state high court on Mr Joshi’s election petition on his one-vote defeat in the 2008 Assembly polls.

The one-vote shocker at the hands of BJP’s candidate Kalyan Singh Chauhan came as a big jolt to Joshi and he had filed an election petition in the Rajasthan HC with the plea for counting of the tender votes.
A vacation bench of Justices Deepak Verma and K.S. Radhakrishnan while directing Mr Joshi and EC to file affidavits on the issue, restrained the HC from passing any verdict on the pending election petition. Tender vote is the vote allowed to be cast by a candidate in whose name some other person had voted wrongly but the mistake is detected. The election officials then cancel it and allow the right person to cast his vote. But such votes are not mixed with the total polled votes and are kept separately and are only counted in case the margin of defeat is less than the total tender votes polled.
All the tender votes are only opened on the order of the court if an election petition is filed. Since Mr Joshi had lost only by one vote, he had pleaded the HC for counting of the tender votes in his election petition,
The HC in an interim order, directed the Election Commission to take into account only “six” tender votes out of the total “ten” such votes polled in Mr Joshi’s constituency.
Victorious BJP MLA challenged this in the Supreme Court with his counsel Udai Lalit questioning the validity of the HC order.
While admitting Mr Chauhan’s appeal, the apex court bench also observed “Why only six tender votes should be consider why not all the ten.” The EC and Mr Joshi were directed to particularly explain this aspect in their affidavits.
Though Mr Joshi was elected to Lok Sabha in 2009, he continued to persist with his election petition vigorously as he could not digest his one-vote shocker when he was considered to be a strong contender for the chief ministership.

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