Syed Hussain vs C.S. Munirathnam Chetty on 20 March, 1928

Madras High Court
Syed Hussain vs C.S. Munirathnam Chetty on 20 March, 1928
Equivalent citations: AIR 1929 Mad 489 a
Author: Devadoss


Devadoss, J.

1. This is an appeal against the conviction under Section 65 (2), City Municipal Act of 1919 by the Presidency Magistrate. The appellant went to the polling station on 17th September 1927 and applied for a slip as evidence of his being a voter. The process that is adopted in these elections is that a voter first goes to an officer who looks into the voter’s list to see whether the person before him is a voter and on being satisfied that he is a voter notes on a piece of paper his number in the list and hands it over to him and with this slip he goes into the room where there is the polling officer, who on seeing the slip and on satisfying himself that he is a voter, gives him a ballot paper which he takes into cubicle for the purpose of voting. The appellant appeared before the officer whose duty it was to identify him in order to get a slip for applying for a ballot paper. When he was before the identifying officer, a dispute arose as to whether he was a voter or not and the polling officer who was inside came out and found him to be a peon working in the Chetty Gardens and not a voter. As a matter of fact he gave a wrong name and not his real name. The question is whether an offence under Section 65 had been committed. Section 65 (2) says that
every person who applies for a ballot paper in the name of another person living or dead, or of a fictitious person, shall be punished.

2. No doubt he gave a wrong name for the purpose of obtaining a slip of paper. He did not apply for the ballot paper, the act at best amounts to preparation to apply for ballot paper. So long as he did not go into the room wherein the polling officer was whose duty it was to hand over the ballot paper his act cannot be said to amount to an attempt to get the ballot paper and an attempt to apply for ballot paper is not an offence. Before he could apply for the ballot paper the polling officer came out and identified him as a person who was not entitled to vote. In the light of the facts proved it cannot be said that appellant applied for a ballot paper and thereby committed an offence under Section 65 (2), City, Municipal Act. The conviction of the appellant is quashed and the fine if paid, will be refunded to him.

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