KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the names of candidates cannot be printed in different colours on the ballot paper indicating the political parties to which they belong. A Division Bench comprising Justice V Chitambaresh and R Narayana Pisharadi passed the order on an appeal filed by the state government against a single judge’s order in connection with the election of Akathethara Service Co-operative Bank, Palakkad.
The Single Judge had acceded to the request of the society to print the names of the candidates on the ballot paper in different colour shades. The single judge had opined that allotment of different colours to the candidates or their panel would help the voter (many of whom are allegedly illiterate) to make the correct choice.
However, the Division Bench held that any ornamentation of the ballot paper by incorporating a symbol or colour for the candidates was not one contemplated either in the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act or the Rules and it was impermissible in law. Giving different colour shades to candidates or to a panel of candidates is an anathema to the election process.
Declining to accept the opinion of the single judge that a good number of voters were illiterates, the Bench observed that it failed to see as to how the members of the society in question in Palakkad could be illiterates unable to read even Malayalam in order to decipher the name of the candidate. The Bench set aside the order of the single judge.
Why it said ‘no’
According to the HC, any ornamentation of the ballot paper by incorporating a symbol or colour for the candidates was not one contemplated either in the Kerala Co-operative Societies Act or the Rules and it was impermissible in law. Moreover, it was an anathema to the election process, the court said.