We believe legal advocacy for Political and Electoral Reforms is as essential as any other research. Our commitment to this sphere has resulted in us filing numerous complaints and PILs with Central Information Commission, Supreme Court/ High Court as well as other Central and State agencies. This section documents all details of previous and ongoing RTI disclosures and PILs.

1) ADR's plea in SC to bring Political Parties under RTI Supreme Court

Urging the Supreme Court to declare all the national and regional political parties as "public authorities" and bring them within the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and RTI activist Mr. Subhash Chandra Agrawal filed a petition in the Apex Court on 19th May 2015. The first hearing in the case took place on 7th July 2015 wherein the Apex Court admitted the plea and sought responses from all the national political parties, Election Commission and the Central government within six-week. To its counter, Government of India had filed its affidavit stating that they do not come under RTI Act. Central Information Commission (CIC), on June 3, 2013, had declared six national political parties, namely the INC, BJP, CPI(M), CPI, NCP and BSP to be “public authorities” under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, on a complaint filed by ADR and Mr. Agrawal but none of the parties complied with the order. Ultimately on 16th March 2015, the CIC said that the RTI Act does not provide the Commission with ample powers to deal with the cases of contempt and non-compliance.

Next date of hearing: Matter is likely to be listed on 19th April, 2024.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

ADR's Petition in Supreme Court

19th May 2015

GOI's Counter Affidavit before Supreme Court

21st August 2015

Counter Affidavit filed by CPI(M)

27th February 2016

2) ADR's petition challenging amendments to FCRA,1976 and 2010Supreme Court

ADR's petition challenges the amendments made with retrospective effect in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 through the Finance Act, 2016 and Finance Act, 2018, which was passed as a Money Bill.These amendments were seen as an attempt to overturn the judgment passed by the Delhi High Court in March 2014 holding the two major political parties, BJP and INC, guilty of accepting foreign funding. The Delhi High Court ordered the Central Government and Election Commission of India to take action against BJP and INC within six months.These amendments to the FCRA law have opened doors to unlimited political donations from foreign companies and also legitimizing financial contributions received from foreign sources. The petition was necessitated due to the intransigence of the Central Government in complying with the Delhi HC order of March 2014 and instead trying to get BJP and INC off the hook by amending the FCRA 2010 in 2016 and subsequently the FCRA 1976 in March 2018.

Next date of hearing: Matter is likely to be listed on 09th April, 2024.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

ADR Writ Petition in Supreme Court

April 2018

3) W.P (C) No. 1382/2019: Petition on voter discrepancies and mechanism of declaration of election resultSupreme Court

On 4th November, 2019, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Common Cause filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India to seek directions from the Supreme Court to order the Election Commission of India to completely stop the practice of announcing election results based on provisional and estimated data, prior to an actual and accurate reconciliation of data. Even for Lok Sabha 2019 Elections, the Election Commission had announced election results in all constituencies on 23rd May 2019, based on estimated data. This is verified by Election Commission’s Press Note dated 01 June 2019 that stated “…the final data on votes counted has been made available within a few days of declaration of results……”

 

In addition, ADR also seeks a direction from Supreme Court to the ECI to evolve an efficient, transparent, rational and robust procedure/mechanism by creating a separate department/grievance cell for investigation of discrepancies in election data and for responding to the elector’s queries on the same. Through this petition, ADR is not challenging or questioning the final result of 2019 General Elections or the election process in the country. However, the issues and irregularities that arose in the conduct of the election/result of 2019 General Elections have been cited as arguments for effectuating free and fair elections, the survival of democracy and enforcement of fundamental rights. Based on our petition, on 13th December, 2019, the Supreme Court of India had issued notices to the Election Commission of India and Union of India.

Current Status of the matter:

 

On 27th February, 2020 an application was filed against the ‘mysterious rush and urgency’ shown by the Election Commission of India by destroying the VVPAT slips used in 2019 Lok Sabha elections in just four months after the results were declared. This was in contravention of the rules prescribed under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. Rule 94 (b) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 states that, “the used or printed slips in any election shall be retained for one year from the date of declaration of the results of the election. and shall thereafter be destroyed.  ADR’s petition has been pending in the Supreme Court since November, 2019. Therefore, an application in the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission of India to;

  • On 27th February, 2020 ADR filed an application in the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission of India to;
  • Not to destroy or dispose of VVPAT paper slips generated in any election in the last one year and to retain the same at least for a period of one year in consonance with the rules of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961;
  • To retain all other documents pertaining to the 17th Lok Sabha elections held in April, 2019. 

Next date of hearing: Matter is likely to be listed on 03rd April, 2024.

Related News

EVM Vote Count Mismatch In 370+ Seats and EC Refuses to Explain (The Quint)


Judgment/Order

Date of issue

ADR Writ Petition in Supreme Court

November 2019

Brief Summary of the petition  

November 2019

Copy of Synopsis and list of dates

Application filed in the Supreme Court against disposal of VVPAT slips

27th February 2020

Counter affidavit filed by Election Commission of India (ECI)

01st November 2021

4) Petition seeking direction for the inclusion of 100% VVPATs in all EVMs, W.P 434/2023: Supreme Court

On 14-03-2023 ADR filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking for inclusion of 100% VVPATs in the EVMs. The petition states that in order to have fullest transparency in the system and to restore the confidence of the voters paper trail is an indispensable requirement of free and fair elections and therefore ECI should be directed to introduce Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (‘VVPAT’) in all EVMs. The petition contends that the voting and counting process should be publicly auditable by being transparent in a manner that the general public can be satisfied that their vote is correctly recorded and counted. There is a statutory acknowledgement in Rule 56(D)(4)(b) as incorporated through Section 66A of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 which provides that the count of VVPATs shall prevail over the count reflected in EVMs. Rule 56(D)(4)(b), therefore is a statutory admission/presumption of the position in law and fact that it is finally the VVPAT which accurately captures the will of the voter and variance/errors/malafides can be found in the EVMs. Through this petition, ADR is also seeking direction to ensure that the voters are able to verify through VVPATs that their vote has been 'counted as recorded'.

Current Status of the matter:

On 17th March, 2023, the Supreme Court of India served the copy of ADR's petition to the Election Commission to examine the matter and submit a reply in three weeks. The court has also ordered to tag similar pending petitions relating to EVMs-VVPATs and would be taken up together during the next hearing.

Next date of hearing: Matter is likely to be listed on 09th April, 2024.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

ADR's Petition in Supreme Court

14th March 2023

5) Contempt Petition against State Bank of India in the Electoral Bonds Matter: Supreme Court

On 7th March 2024, ADR filed a contempt petition in the Supreme court seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against State Bank of India for willfully and deliberately disobeying the SC directions dated 15.02.2024 wherein the court had directed SBI to submit details of contribution made to the political parties through Electoral Bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI) by 06.03.2024.

Next date of hearing: Matter is likely to be listed on 11th March, 2024.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

ADR's Contempt Petition in Supreme Court

07th March 2024

Supreme Court Order

11th March 2024

6) Petition challenging Constitutional validity of The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023: Supreme Court

On 6th January,2024 ADR filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Constitutional validity of ‘The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023’ on the grounds that the new law not only undermines the independence of the Election Commission but also overruled the aforementioned directions of the court where the Chief Justice of India was removed from the appointment process and instead a Cabinet Minister (to be nominated by the Prime Minister) was added thereby creating a system entirely dominated by executive.

Next date of hearing: Matter is likely to be listed on 05th August, 2024.

1) Disclosure of Candidate Background (Criminal, Educational & Financial) to Election Commission. Supreme Court

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by ADR in December 1999 culminated into a landmark Supreme Court Judgment on May 2, 2002 and an ordinance on Electoral Reforms promulgated in August 2002. The Ordinance was subsequently passed as a Bill in December 2002. It partially overturned the May 2, 2002 Supreme Court Judgment, requiring disclosure of criminal background, but not of financial and educational background. ADR and two other petitioners challenged this Act. The Supreme Court, in a second landmark Judgment on March 13, 2003, struck down the Bill as unconstitutional and restored its earlier order. Subsequently, the Election Commission issued orders implementing the following judgments:

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

Delhi High Court's Judgment. AIR(2001) Delhi 126,2000 SCC Online DEL 836

2nd November 2000

Supreme Court's Judgment. (2002) 5 SCC 294,AIR 2002 SC 2112

2nd May 2002

Supreme Court's Judgment.AIR 2003 SC 2363,(2003)2 SCR 1136,MANU/SC/0234/2003

13th March 2003

2) The Supreme Court's Judgment On NOTA. Supreme Court

On a petition filed by PUCL for having a separate button on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) with the option of ‘None of the Above’ (NOTA) and in which ADR later intervened, the Supreme Court gave a favourable ruling on 27th Sept. 2013. The NOTA button was inserted in the EVM machines first time during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

Supreme Court's Judgment

27th September 2013

3) Disqualification Of Convicted MPs/MLAsSupreme Court

On a petition filed by Lily Thomas and Lok Prahari NGO, where ADR also intervened, the Supreme Court stated that if a sitting MP/MLA is convicted (not only charged) then he/ she would be disqualified immediately and the seat would be declared as vacant, setting aside the Clause 8(4) of the Representation of People Act. The Clause 8(4) had provided special privilege to MPs/MLAs to hold the office even after conviction if an appeal has been filed in a higher court within the span of 3 months.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

Supreme Court's Judgment (2013) 7 SCC 653, (2013) 3 SCC (Civ.) 678, (2013) 3 SCC (Cri.) 641

10th July 2013

4) Foreign Funding Taken By BJP and INCDelhi High CourtSupreme Court

ADR's petition resulted in a landmark judgment from the Delhi HC which held BJP and Congress guilty of taking foreign funding and violating the provisions of FCRA and directed the Home Ministry and ECI to take action against the two parties within six months. Both INC and BJP had separately appealed against this Delhi HC order in the SC, however, the SC while accepting the appeal refused to grant stay over Delhi HC order. On 29th November 2016, the Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) filed by BJP and INC were dismissed as withdrawn by the Supreme Court.

Related News:

  1. Retro rules make a comeback (Telegraph)
  2. 2016 Amendment to the FCRA (Corporate Law Reporter)

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

A Roadmap of the Case

2014

Delhi High Court Judgment. 2014 SCC Online Del 1321, (2014) 209 DLT 607

28th March 2014

Supreme Court Judgment

29th November 2016

ADR's contempt petition filed in Delhi HC

21st March 2017

5) Ashok Shankarao Chavan vs. Madhao Rao Kindhalkar and Others: The Alleged Paid News CaseDelhi High CourtSupreme Court

This case relates to complaints against former Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan for publication of news items, advertisements and filing inaccurate election expenditure statements during 2009 Maharashtra Assembly elections. In the matter on May 5, 2014, the Supreme court had passed a judgment holding that ECI has powers to disqualify a candidate in relation to filing of false election expenditure statement under Section 10A. ADR had also intervened in the case.  Afterwards, the Apex court had ordered ECI to conduct an enquiry under Rule 89(4) of Conduct of Election Rules and decide the matter within 45 days. Consequently, ECI had passed an order on July 13, 2014 and also issued a show cause notice to Mr. Chavan. As a result, Ashok Chavan filed an appeal in Delhi High court on July 25, 2014 against the show cause notice. Based on the appeal, Delhi High court had imposed a stay order on ECI's said order on July 28, 2014. That stay order was then challenged in the SC. The SC did not entertain the plea stating that the question of law involved in the current appeal was not dealt by the Supreme Court in the previous matter and it  ordered Delhi High court to dispose off the matter within 15 days.

Judgment/Order

Date of issue

A Roadmap Of The Case

2014

Delhi High Court Judgment (Single Bench). (2014) 7 SCC 99

28th July 2014

Supreme Court Final Judgment

5th May 2014

6) Supreme Court in the matter of Satish Ukey vs. Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis & ANR Supreme Court

ADR had filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court in an SLP in the matter of Satish Ukey vs. Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis SLP (Crl.) 19-20/2018. This matter dealt with concealment of information by Maharashtra C.M. Devendra Fadnavis in his affidavit during the Maharashtra State Assembly elections, 2014. In his affidavit, he had not mentioned the information regarding two criminal cases prescribing punishment of more than two years and where cognizance was taken by the court. ADR had intervened in the matter since the matter is pertaining to furnishing of information in the affidavits by candidates at the time of election and ADR was the original party in the 2000, 2002 and 2003 affidavit judgments.

Supreme Court Judgment: Relevant points of the SC judgment dated 1st October, 2019

  • For maintaining purity of elections and healthy democracy, voters are required to be educated and well informed about the contesting candidates. There is no necessity of suppressing the relevant facts from the voters.
  • Under Section 33-A(1) of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, cases in which cognizance has been taken by the court was not added, despite 2002 & 2003 SC ruling.
  • Mr Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis missed out on giving details of two cases where court has taken the cognizance.
  • Section 33-A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and Rule 4-A of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 and Form-26 make it amply clear that the information to be furnished also includes cases where cognizance has been taken by the court.
  • Details of all pending cases in which cognizance has been taken by the Court, irrespective of the quantum of punishment or framing of charges will have to be disclosed by the candidate.
  • Under Section 125A, furnishing of any false information or concealing of information in the affidavit in Form 26 is an electoral offence punishable with imprisonment upto six months, or with fine or both.
  • Order of the High Court as well as trial court is not legally tenable and the same deserves to be set aside.
  • The complaint of the appellant will be considered afresh by the learned trial Court.

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    A Roadmap of the case

    2019

    Supreme Court Judgment

    1st October,2019

    7) Supreme Court in the matter of Lok Prahari vs. Union of India and others Supreme Court

    Matter related to disproportionate assets of the elected representatives and a mechanism to cross- verify their assets in the affidavits.

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    A Roadmap of the case

    2015

    SC Judgment in Lok Prahari vs. Union of India and Ors. W.P (C) 784/2015

    16th February 2018

    8) Petition challenging the constitutional validity of the current practice of appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners by ExecutiveSupreme Court

    A five-judge Constitution Bench comprising Justices KM Joseph, Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar in a petition filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) gave a landmark judgment directing the appointment of Members of Election Commission to be done on the advice of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and the Leader of Opposition (or the leader of single largest opposition party) in the Lok Sabha.

    The bench stated that there is lacuna in law relating to the appointment process of Members of Election Commission and, therefore, “any process that seeks to improve the election process before this Court must be considered”.

    Press Release: Case Title: Association for Democratic Reforms versus Union of India & ANR. | WP(c) 569/2021

    Media Coverage on the Verdict: 

    1. Scroll.in: Explainer: Why the SC took away the government’s discretion to appoint election commissioners
    2. Hindustan Times: ‘Very positive and progressive’: ADR hails SC verdict on ECI appointments
    3. Money Control: A Big Bang Poll Reform: Taking Election Commissioner selection out of government’s hands was long overdue 

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    A Roadmap of the case

    2021

    Supreme Court Judgment

    2nd March 2023

    9) Petition challenging Finance Act, 2017; Electoral Bonds and Removal of company's limit to donate: W.P (C) 880/2017Supreme Court

    On 15th February 2024A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising Justices Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra in a petition filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has given a landmark judgment holding the anonymous, unregulated and unlimited funding through electoral bonds and companies as unconstitutional. The court relied on the fact that such a system of political funding which is completely anonymous, unchecked and unlimited goes against the basic principles of citizen’s Right to know under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and free and fair election and therefore the amendments brought through the Finance Act,2017 and passed as Money bill to Section 29C of RP Act,1951, Sections 181 & 183(3) of the Companies Act,2013,  Section 13A(b) of the Income Tax Act,1961 were struck down as being violative of the Constitution. The court observed the principle that the citizens have a duty to hold the government of the day accountable for their actions and inactions, and they can effectively fulfil this duty only if the government is open and not clothed in secrecy.


    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    A Roadmap of the case

    2019

    Supreme Court Judgment NEW!!

    15th February 2024

     1) Sh. Nand Ram Bagri Vs. Sh Jai Kishan & ORS. : Justice Endlaw judgment on election petition filed in the Delhi High Court( EL. PET. 14/2009 )

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Delhi High Court Judgment

    7th May 2013

     2) S. Subramaniam Balaji Vs. The Government Of Tamil Nadu & Ors. : (2013) 9 SCC659 : Guidelines for election manifesto

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment

    5th July 2013

     3) Moti Lal Yadav Vs. Election Commission Of India & Ors. : Caste Based Rallies ( MISC. BENCH No. - 5889 of 2013 )

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Allahabad High Court Judgment

    11th July 2013

     4) Resurgence India Vs. Election Commission OF India : 2014 AIR (SC) 344 : Rejection of nomination papers in case of blank affidavits

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment

    13th September 2013

     5) Public Interest foundation & Ors. Vs. Union Of India & Anr. : W P(CIVIL) NO. 536 OF 2011

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Daily Order (Trial of MPs and MLAs within one year)

    10th March 2014

    Supreme Court's Judgment (Publication of criminal cases against candidates selected by political parties)

    25th September 2018

    SC judgment in the matter of Brajesh Singh vs. Sunil Arora & Ors.

    10th August 2021

     6) Rambabu Singh Thakur Vs. Sunil Arora and Ors : Contempt Petition (C) No. 2192/2018 : Publication of criminal cases against candidates selected by political parties along with reasons for such selection 

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court's Judgment

    13th February 2020

     7) Kisan shankar Kathore Vs. Arun Dattatray Sawant & Ors. : Civil Appeal No. 4261 of 2007 : Suppression of information regarding assets of spouse in the affidavit

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment

    9th May 2014

     8) Manoj Narula vs. Union Of India : (2014) 9 SCC 1 : Duty of PM & CMs not to appoint ministers against whom charges have been framed by a criminal court

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court's Judgment.(2014) 9 SCC 1  , W.P (C) 289/2005

    27th August 2014

     9) Krishnamoorthy Vs. Sivakumar & Ors. : AIR 2015 SC 1921 : Cancellation of election of law makers on suppression of information about pending criminal cases which are within a special knowledge of candidate

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment. (AIR 2015 SC 1921)

    5th February 2015

     10) Rajbala & Ors. Vs. State Of Haryana & Ors. : (W P(Civil) No. 671/2015) : Minimum Educationl Qualification For Panchayat Election 

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment

    10th December 2015

      11) Shri Marembam Prithviraj @ Prithviraj Singh vs. Phukrem Sharatchandra Singh : Civil Appeal No. 2649/2016

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment

    28th October 2016

     12) Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. Union of India & Anr. : WP(C) 699/2016 : Formation of Special 11 fast-track courts involving 1581 cases against MPs and MLAs as declared at the time of filing of the nomination papers for the 2014 elections

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Daily Order

    1st November 2017

     13) Jamuna vs. Secretary, Govt. Of India and others, HCP 90/2020: Madras High Court Order on enacting a law prohibiting candidates with criminal background from contesting in Parliamentary, Assembly amd Local body elections.

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Madras High Court Order

    13th August 2020

     14) Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. Union of India & Anr. : WP(C) 699/2016 : Misuse of Public Prosecutor’s power under Section 321 of Cr.P.C

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Interim Order

    10th August 2021

     15) Bhim Rao Baswanth Rao Patil vs. K. Madan Mohan Rao & Ors. : WP(C) 6614/2023 : Electoral/voter’s right to know about the full background of a candidate

    Judgment/Order

    Date of issue

    Supreme Court Judgment

    24th July 2023

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