From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Secret Ballot
Mains level : Secrecy of Vote and its significance
The Supreme Court has again held that in any election, be it to Parliament or State legislature, the maintenance of secrecy of voting is “a must”.
What is the Secret Vote?
- The secret vote/ secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter’s choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous.
- It aims for forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation, blackmailing, and potential vote-buying.
- The system is one means of achieving the goal of political privacy.
What did the Supreme Court rule?
- Secrecy is a part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression.
- The confidentiality of choice strengthens democracy.
- The principle of secrecy of ballots is an important postulate of constitutional democracy, the court said.
- It is the policy of the law to protect the right of voters to the secrecy of the ballot.
- Even a remote or distinct possibility that a voter can be forced to disclose for whom she has voted would act as a positive constraint and a check on the freedom to exercise of the franchise.
Voter’s discretion is allowed
- A voter can also voluntarily waive the privilege of non-disclosure.
- The privilege ends when the voter decides to waive the privilege and instead volunteers to disclose to whom she had voted.
- Nor can a complaint be entertained from any, including the person who wants to keep the voter’s mouth sealed as to why she disclosed for whom she voted said the court.