Section 123(3) deals with abiding to “corrupt practices” for canvassing votes in an election.
The bench had at hand the task of the interpreting the word “his” in section 123(3) in RPA.
- The majority believed that “his” here refers to the any candidate or his agent or any other person making the appeal with the consent of the candidate or the elector. To justify this interpretation, the bench took cues from various amendments of RPA.
- It also said that to maintain the “purity” of the electoral process; certain arguments must be taken off the table such as religion, caste and language.
- The dissenting judges on other the hand believed that Section 123(3) of the RPA does not require such a broad interpretation and the word “his” does not include the elector/voter.
- The dissenting judges remarked that markers such as religion are deeply rooted in the structure of the Indian society.
The bench abstained from commenting on the “Hindutva” case.
- It is difficult to define what kind of an appeal is religious appeal.
- This interpretation violates the right to freedom of speech under Article 19.
- RPA already has provisions to curb hate speech or speech that spreads enmity.
- A broad interpretation “outlaws” parties like Akali Dal whose very name violates this interpretation.