Supreme Court Dismisses Plea for Breathalyzer Tests at Polling Booths

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the Janavahini Party, which sought to implement breathalyzer tests for voters at polling booths during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The court dismissed the plea, terming it “publicity interest litigation.”

Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta presided over the case, affirming the decision previously made by the Andhra Pradesh High Court on February 28, 2024. The High Court had also rejected the plea, leading the political party to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court.

The Janavahini Party argued that since the model code of conduct prohibits alcohol consumption during elections, voters should not be allowed to vote under the influence of alcohol. However, the bench responded critically to the proposal, highlighting that election days are already dry days with significant police presence to ensure compliance with the law.

“What is this? It is for publicity. On the polling day, it is a dry day and police personnel are deployed everywhere. We will not entertain this. Dismissed,” stated the bench, dismissing the plea outright.

The plea had originated from a representation made by the Janavahini Party to the Election Commission of India on January 6, 2024, which suggested placing breathalyzers at every polling booth to ensure that only sober individuals could vote. This proposal was not addressed by the Election Commission, prompting the party to seek judicial intervention.

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