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Right to vote a Constitutional right; cannot be overruled by parliament’s ancillary powers: Justice KM Joseph in Election Commission case

The remark was made after the counsel for the Election Commission told a Constitution Bench of Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, CT Ravikumar and Hrishikesh Roy that the right to vote is a statutory than a constitutional right.

Justice Joseph, after asking the counsel to read Article 326 (which provides for universal adult franchise), then remarked,

If you are going to say that the parliament’s legislative power is going to override the Constitutional power … the Constitution has contemplated giving a right, that is a fundamental thing… the ancillary law-making by parliament is actually intended to give it [the right to vote] teeth and flesh … Now if the legislature were to say we will not make a law (under Article 324), definitely we will issue a mandamus.

The ancillary law-making powers being referred to were concerning disqualification of certain voters under Article 326, Justice Joseph added.

Source: Barandbench

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