On 18 October 2017, The Supreme Court of Nepal did not issue an interim order to the writ filed by Sarbendra Shukla, a leader of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) on 8 October 2017 in the Supreme Court against the Election Commission’s decision to print only two types of ballot paper for provincial and parliamentary elections. The petition had demanded that there should be four types of ballot paper: for parliamentary First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) election, parliamentary PR election, provincial FPTP election, and provincial PR election.
But the Apex Court’s order hints that Election Commission must print separate ballot papers for provincial and parliamentary elections under FPTP system.
Here is the English Translation of the court order:
Here is why the EC must implement the hints by the court order for printing of separate ballot papers, as argued by the writ and the petitioner’s lawyers.
If the Election Commission prints just two types of the ballot paper, it could create confusion among the voters and complicate things.
If there are only two types of the ballot paper and if a case is filed in the court against one candidate/party’s election, another candidate and the party’s right will also be violated as the votes of another candidate and party will also have to be revealed in the court. Thus, this could violate the right to privacy.
If there were only two types of the ballot paper, one candidate’s unpopularity could become a reason for voters to not vote for another candidate of the same party.
In the first and second phase of local polls, millions of votes were declared invalid. If the EC does not print four types of the ballot paper, the percentage of invalid votes could be high. This will lead to affect free and fair elections. Hence, the EC must ensure low percentage of invalid votes.
Supreme Court Order on 18 October 2017 on the case of certiorari: Print Separate Ballot Papers for Provincial and Parliamentary Elections
- Court Order on 18 October 2017