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How Are Election Votes Recounted in India? Here’s The Process

Did you know that under the Conduct of Election Rules, there is provision for a recount of votes? Find out more.

How Are Election Votes Recounted in India? Here’s The Process

Earlier this week there was a lot of buzz about the US Presidential election results. We, in India, were watching the results unfold with a lot of keenness and anticipation even.

Now, the Bihar assembly results have been announced, and the vote count of that has also managed to create quite a stir. There is talk of one or more parties demanding for a re-count.

In this article, we help you understand what re-count entails.

  • An election recount is the second counting of votes cast in an election that is used to determine the correctness of an initial count.
  • According to Rule 63 of the Conduct of Election Rules, a candidate or his agent is explicitly allowed to demand a recount of postal ballots or EVM votes before the result is formally declared.
  • The application for a partial or complete recount has to be made in writing along with strong reasons for the demand.
  • The Returning Officer considers the grounds provided and may allow the recount in part or whole.
  • The Returning Officer has to record her reason for both permission and rejection.

It was held in P K K Shamsudeen v. K A M Mappillai Mohindeen, (1989) that, the recount of votes cannot be ordered as a matter of course or on mere asking. A solid cause has to be made out by the person seeking a recount of votes. Sanctity of secrecy of vote has to be maintained.

Also, in the case of D P Sharma v. Commissioner and Returning Officer, the Supreme Court pertinently observed that it is well established that to obtain recount of votes, a proper foundation is required to be laid by the election petitioner.

The petitioner must indicate the precise material based on which it could be urged by him with some substance that there has been either improper reception of invalid votes in favour of the elected candidate or improper rejection of valid votes in favour of the defeated candidate or wrong counting of votes in favour of the election candidate which had in reality been cast in favour of the defeated candidate.

Concerning the Bihar assembly elections, in a letter sent to the Election Commissioner, CPI (ML) politburo member Kavita Krishnan has demanded a recount in Bhorey, Arrah and Daraundha assembly constituencies citing ‘dubious counting practices’. It is now upto the Returning Officer to take up the issue of a recount.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)

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