Kerala High Court: While dismissing a Writ Petition, V. Chitambaresh J. held that ‘Madrassa’ is not a place of worship and therefore such a building can function as a polling booth for the conduct of election.
In the instant case, Sri. Boby John Pulikkaparambil on behalf of the respondent pleaded to relocate the booths of Ward No. 1 of Chengala Grama Pachayat to other building for the conduct of election to the local bodies since they are presently located in ‘Madrassa’.
The Court read Clause III (iv) of the handbook issued by the State Election Commission for the conduct of elections to the local bodies, which states that ‘no police station, hospital or place of religious worship shall function as a polling station’. The Court observed that ‘Madrassa’ only means a building which houses a school, it is neither a place of religious worship nor does it have religious significance, and therefore using ‘Madrassa’ as a polling booth for conduct of election for local bodies does not flout any of the instructions issued by the State Election Commission. Accordingly, the Court concluded that there is no need to relocate the polling booths in Ward No. 1 of Chengala Grama, as ‘Madrassa’ is not a place of worship and can function as a polling booth. [B.A. Kasim v. State Election Commission, Kerala, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 23184 decided on 21-10-2015]