Supreme Court Rejects Elderly Woman’s Plea for Voting from Home

The Supreme Court of India on Monday dismissed an appeal by a 78-year-old woman challenging a Chhattisgarh High Court decision that denied her the right to vote from home using a postal ballot. The elderly woman, a resident of Bilaspur constituency, had originally petitioned the High Court to issue her a postal ballot for the Lok Sabha elections, citing her age and medical conditions as constraints that prevented her from voting in-person at the polling station.

The High Court, on April 29, allowed her to apply to the electoral officer and directed the officer to consider her request as per the law. However, the officer rejected her application on May 1, stating that her physical disability did not meet the threshold of 40% required to qualify for postal voting.

Her lawyer, senior advocate Gaurav Agarwal, informed a vacation bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal that the rejection was based on the insufficient degree of disability. Following the rejection, the woman re-approached the High Court, which dismissed her subsequent application on May 6, reasoning that the electoral commission’s procedures for issuing and collecting postal ballots could not be completed within 24 hours before the voting date on May 7.

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With the voting date passed, the Supreme Court found the petition had become moot, effectively closing the case without providing the relief sought by the petitioner. This decision highlights the challenges faced by disabled and elderly voters in accessing voting facilities, especially when seeking exceptions to traditional voting methods.

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