The Top 5 Landmark Election Judgements You Must Know That Shaped Up the Election Process in India

Landmark Election Judgement

5 Landmark Election Judgements that Shaped Indian Election Process

Judgments of the Supreme Court in India are often highly impactful, particularly during national elections. In the most recent election, the court upheld the government’s decision to disqualify a rival party’s candidate for financial irregularities. As a result, the ruling party was able to win with a significantly smaller majority.

In another high-profile case this year, the court ruled India’s espionage law unconstitutional because it silenced dissent. The law led to arrests and public criticism.

These 5 landmark Indian Election judgments helped to stabilize political conditions and improve public trust in the judicial system.

These are the writ petitions filed under Article 32 before the Supreme Court of India

Indira Nehru Gandhi V. Raj Narain 

Facts Of The Case: –  

Smt.Indira Nehru Gandhi Was Elected To The House Of The People By Rae Bareli Parliamentary Constituency In March 1971. Her Election Was Challenged By One Of The Rival Candidates Shri Raj Narain, Before The Allahabad High Court By An Election Petition On Various Grounds Such As Indira Gandhi Used Bribery, Government Machinery, And Resources To Gain An Unfair Advantage In Contesting The Election. Narain said Gandhi used government workers as campaign workers and held events in his district.

Issue Before The High Court A writ petition was filed before the High Court to decide Whether The Election Was ‘Null And Void’ On The Grounds Of Corrupt Practices.

High Court’s Judgement –  

The Court Allowed The Election Petition And Declared The Election Of Smt. Indira Nehru Gandhi As Void And Barred Gandhi From Holding Elected Office For Six Years On The Grounds That She Procured The Assistance Of A Gazetted Officer Of The Government Of India, The District Magistrate And Superintendent Of Police, Rae Bareli, The Executive Engineer, PWD, And The Engineer, Hydel Department, For Her Election Campaign And Had Thus Committed Corrupt Practices Under Section 123 (7) Of The Representation Of The People Act, 1951.

Appeal To Supreme Court And Amending Of Laws -

Aggrieved By The Order Of The Allahabad High Court, Smt. Indira Nehru Gandhi Filed An Appeal Before The Supreme Court. Shri Raj Narain also filed a cross-appeal. During The Pendency Of These Appeals, Parliament Passed: –

The Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 1975. By This Amendment Act, Several Provisions Of The Representation Of The People Act, 1951 Were Amended Retrospectively.

The Constitution (Thirty-Ninth Amendment) Act, 1975. By This Amendment Act, A New Article 329-A Was Inserted Into The Constitution To Provide, Inter Alia, That The Election To Parliament Of A Person, Who Holds The Office Of Prime Minister Or Speaker Of The Lok Sabha At The Time Of Such Election Or Is Appointed As Prime Minister Or Speaker After Such Election, Shall Be Called In Question Only Before A Specially Prescribed Authority [And Not Before The High Court Under Article 329 (B) Of The Constitution].

In appeals, the constitutionality of two changes was called into question because lawmakers were in jail and couldn’t vote.

Judgment: –

The Supreme Court upheld the 1975 Election Laws (Amendment) Act and the Constitution (39th Amendment) Act in the current appeals. The Supreme Court upheld the election of Smt. Indira Gandhi To The House Of The People, Allowing Her Appeal And Rejecting The Cross-Appeal Of Shri Raj Narain.

Kihoto Hollohon V. Zachilhu And Ors 

Facts Of The Case: -

Some Members Of The Nagaland Legislative Assembly Were Disqualified By The Speaker Of The Assembly Under The Tenth Schedule To The Constitution Of India, As Inserted By The Constitution (Fifty-Second Amendment) Act, 1985, On The Ground Of Defection. They Challenged The Order Of The Speaker Before The High Court Of The State. Several Other Similar Orders Of The Speakers Of The Legislative Assemblies Of Manipur, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, And Goa Were Also Under Challenge Before The Various High Courts. The Tenth Schedule Was Inserted By The Constitution (Fifty-Second Amendment) Act, 1985. The Combined Petitions Challenged The Constitutional Validity Of The Tenth Schedule Introduced By The Constitution (Fifty-Second Amendment) Act, 1985, Which Amended Four Articles - 101(3)(A), 102(2), 190(3)(A), And 191(2). This Amendment Is Often Referred To As Anti-Defection Law.

Issue In The Case: - Whether The Changes Made By The 52nd Amendment Constitutionally Valid Or Not?

Judgement: –  

The Supreme Court Struck Down Para 7 Of The Tenth Schedule On The Ground That It Made, In Terms And In Effect, Changes In Articles 136, 226, And 227 Of The Constitution And, Therefore, Should Have Been Ratified By The Specified Number Of State Legislatures Under The Proviso To Clause (2) Of Article 368 Of The Constitution, Which Was Not Done. The Supreme Court, By 3:2, Upheld The Validity Of The Remaining Paragraphs Of The Tenth Schedule, Holding That The Order Of The Speaker Under The Tenth Schedule Was Justiciable And Subject To Judicial Review By The High Courts And Supreme Court Under Articles 226 And 227 And 136 Of The Constitution.

Minority View: -  

Minority judges said the most important part of the constitution was broken because it says disqualifying members after they are elected should be decided by a president or governor.

All Of Which Who High Constitutional Functionaries Are. The Election Commission Had A Similar Opinion As That Of The Minority Judges In The Present Case. In The Year 1977,

It Made Recommendations And Suggested That The Disqualification On The Grounds Of Defection Could Also Be Referred To The Election Commission For Tendering Opinion To The President Or The Governor, As The Case May Be. The President Or The Governor Shall Act-On Such Opinion Tendered By The Election Commission, As It Was In The Case Of Other Disqualifications Referred To In Articles 102 And 191 Of The Constitution.

It Was Thus Held That Para 6 Of The Tenth Schedule Does Not Introduce A Non-Justiciable Area. The Power To Resolve The Disputes Of The Speaker/Chairman Is Judicial.

B.K. Rai & Another V. Union Of India & Others 

Facts Of The Case: - 

On 1st October 1993, The President Of India, In The Exercise Of Powers, Fixed The Number Of Election Commissioners (Other Than The Chief Election Commissioner) At Two. By A Further Notification, The President Appointed Dr. M.S.Gill And Shri G.V.G.Krishnamurty As Election Commissioners. Simultaneously, The President Also Promulgated An Ordinance Entitled The Chief Election Commissioner And Other Election Commissioners (Conditions Of Service) Amendment Ordinance, 1993 To Amend The “Chief Election Commissioner And Other Election Commissioners (Conditions Of Service) Act, 1991”. The Ordinance Brought In The Following Changes: –

The Chief Election Commissioner And Other Election Commissioners Were Placed At Par In The Matter Of Their Salary And Allowances (Which Were To Be The Same As Admissible To A Judge Of The Supreme Court Of India).

The chief election commissioner and other election commissioners could not be older than 65 when appointed.

It said the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners should have the same decision-making power, and if they had different opinions, the majority would decide.

The Ordinance Also Renamed The Principal Act Of Chief Election Commissioner And Other Election Commissioners (Conditions Of Service) Act, 1991 As The “Election Commission (Conditions Of Service Of Election Commissioners And Transaction Of Business) Act, 1991”.

This Ordinance Was Later On Replaced By A Parliamentary Act (4 Of 1994) On 4th January 1994, Without Any Changes. As Mentioned Above, The Amendments Made By The Ordinance Were Challenged By Shri T.N.Seshan, The Then Chief Election Commissioner, As Being Unconstitutional Before The Supreme Court. He Also Challenged The Appointment Of Dr. M.S.Gill And Shri G.V.G. Krishnamurty, Alleging Malafides Against The Government.

Issue’s Present: – 

Whether The Ordinance And The Act Enforced Were Constitutional?

Whether The Appointment Of Two Election Commissioners Was Valid?

Judgment: –

The Supreme Court Dismissed The Writ Petition Of Shri T.N.Seshan. The court upheld the challenged ordinance and act, as well as Dr. M.S. Gill and Shri G.V.G. Krishnamurty’s appointment as Election Commissioners. The Court Also Pointed Out The Adverse Conduct Of Shri T.N.Seshan As Chief Election Commissioner.

Sandeep Vinod Kumar Singh And Another V. Election Commission Of India And Another  

Facts Of The Case – 

A Bio-Pic Of ‘PM Narendra Modi” Starring Actor Vivek Oberoi, Was Restrained From Being Released And Being Promoted By ECI Vide Order Dated 10.04.2019 On The Grounds That The Movie Has The Potential To Disturb The Level Playing Field During The Elections Thus, Should Not Be Displayed In The Electronic Media”. The Said Order Was Challenged By The Petitioner, Who Sought Quashing Of The Order Dated 10.04.2019.

Issues Present: – Whether The Order Of ECI To Restrain Producers Of The Film “PM Narendra Modi” From Releasing It During The Operation Of The Model Code Of Conduct Valid And Justifiable?

Judgement: –The Hon’ble Supreme Court Asked The Election Commission To File A Report Regarding The Film In A Sealed Cover After Watching It. The Election Officials Post Watching The Film Presented A Report Before The Court. The Supreme Court threw out the petition after reading the report and avoiding the case’s details.

Lok Prahiri V. Union Of India And Others 

Facts Of The Case: –

Lok Prahari asked candidates’ sources of income when they filed nomination papers. The Petition Was Filed In The Context Of An Alleged Substantial Increase In The Assets Of Various MPs/MLAs/MLCs. A Petition Was Filed Seeking Amendments In Form 26, Including The Source Of Income Of Candidate, Spouse,

And Dependents, To Provide For Rejection Of Nomination Papers Of The Candidates And Disqualification Of MPs/MLAs/ MLCs Deliberately Furnishing Wrong Information About Their Assets In The Affidavit And To Consider Amending Section 9-A Of The Act To Include Contracts With Appropriate Government And Any Public Company By The Hindu Undivided Family/Trust/Partnership Firm(S)/Private Company (Companies) In Which The Candidate And His Spouse And Dependents Have A Share Or Interest.

Issues Involved: – 

Whether Rule 4A And Form – 26 Have To Be Amended To Mandate The Aforementioned Information From A Candidate?

Whether Non-Disclosure Of Assets Amount To Corrupt Practices?


The Supreme Court Directed Necessary Amendments May Be Made In Form 26 And Rule 4A Of The Conduct Of Elections Rules, 1961 To Require Candidates To Declare On Affidavit The Source Of Their Income As Well As Their Associates’ Source Of Income.

The Hon’ble Court Also Accepted The Prayer Seeking Information About The Contractual Relationship Of Associates Of Candidates With Appropriate Governments And Also Held That Non-Disclosure Of Such Information Would Amount To Corrupt Practice Under Section 123(2) Of The Representation Of The People Act, 1951.

By the next election, a permanent system for political monitoring and investigating legislators’ asset growth must be in place. This system would look at lawmakers with 100% asset growth. This Monitoring Body Is Then Required To Publish The Information And Recommend Suitable Action.

Legal Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog post is for general information and educational purposes only. Nothing contained in this blog post should be construed as legal advice from The Aran Law Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.

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