Finality of the electoral roll cannot be challenged in an election petition

In this regard, reference can be made to the observations made by this Court in the case of Shyamdeo Pd. Singh v. Nawal Kishore Yadav (2000) 8 SCC 46. The Court has observed that inclusion of person or persons in the electoral roll by an authority empowered in law to prepare the electoral rolls though they were not qualified to be so enrolled cannot be a ground for setting aside an election of a returned candidate under Sub-clause (iii) or (iv) of Clause (d) of Sub-section (1) of Section 100 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. The court has observed:

The electoral rolls may contain error and they may remain to be corrected or the appeals in respect thereof may be pending, the electoral roll effective for the ensuing election must achieve a finality at a given point of time (such as the last date prescribed for filing the nominations). It has to be remembered that right to contest an election, a right to vote and a right to object to an ineligible person exercising right to vote are all rights and obligations created by Statute. They are not the rights in common law. Bringing into existence Houses or Institutions responsible for functioning of a democracy have a vital constitutional objective to achieve as they are so essential for the functioning of a democracy. A breach of any statutory right or obligation should not come in the way of the process directed towards fulfilling the high objective of bringing into existence of a House or Institution contemplated by Constitution as enabling democratic functioning of the country.

The Court has further observed:

To sum up we are of the opinion that inclusion of person or persons in the electoral roll by an authority empowered in law to prepare the electoral rolls, though they were not qualified to be so enrolled, cannot be a ground for setting aside an election of a returned candidate under Sub-clause (iii) or (iv) of Clause (d) of Sub-section (1) of Section 100 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A person enrolled in the electoral list by an authority empowered by law to prepare an electoral roll or to include a name therein is entitled to cast a vote unless disqualified under Sub-sections (2) to (5) of Section 62 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A person enrolled in the electoral roll cannot be excluded from exercising his right to cast vote on the ground that he did not satisfy the eligibility requirement as laid down in Section 19 or 27(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.

 The Constitution Bench of Supreme  Court in the case of Nripendra Bahadur Singh v. Jai Ram Verma and OTHERS, (1978) 1 SCC 208, wherein it was held that the finality of the electoral roll cannot be challenged in an election petition even if certain irregularities had taken place in the preparation of the electoral roll or if subsequent disqualification had taken place and the electoral roll had on that score cannot be corrected before the last hour of making nominations. The court further stated that after that dead line the electoral roll of a constituency cannot be interfered with and no one can go behind the entries except for the purpose of considering disqualification under Section 16 of the 1950 Act.