Photographs of Contestants in Elections to appear on Ballot Papers

In the upcoming elections expected from 1st May, 2015 onwards, the election ballot papers, postal ballot papers and EVMs displaying ballot papers, to contain the photographs of the contesting persons, as per directions of Election Commission to all Chief Electoral Officers of the States and Union territories.

The policy of pasting photographs on ballot papers along with the names of contesting persons and parties to which they attached, is made in order to reduce the confusions of Voters while there are contesting namesakes.

It was pointed by Election Commission that the cases of same or similar names of contestant from same constituency appears in the ballot papers, are many and as such the decision of providing photograph of candidates will be one to remove confusions arising therefrom. Commission further, pointed that there is pending a writ petition on the said subject before Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

The Election commission’s direction said that, “Although appropriate suffixes are added to the names of candidates in the event or two or more candidates having same name, the Commission considers that additional measures are required for removing confusion in the minds of electors at the time of voting”.

The Photograph of the Candidates will be to appear between their names and elections symbol. And if such candidates failed in providing their photographs, then this will not be treated a reason or ground to reject the nomination of such candidates. Hence one can say, the measure of avoiding confusions in the minds of voters, have been adopted by the Commission, but not with the serious effect, as the Candidates easily, by not providing their photographs, may skip this responsibility as there is no strict sanction against non-providing of such photographs.

Moreover, the candidates are required under this direction to provide their recent photographs of either coloured or black and white to the election authorities when they are moving their nomination for elections. Similarly, the Election Commission has made alterations in the existing directions which were issued under the Conduct of Election Rules.

Election Commission further directed that, the candidate who is submitting his or her photograph, should confirm that the said should not be contain any Uniform, Cap or Glasses. The fact that, It is open to the idea of Printing Photographs of Contesting Candidate on the Ballot Papers, have been recently informed to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India by the Poll watchdog.

by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.