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05 Feb 2017

SC: You can't blame the government if you don't vote

The Supreme Court, while listening to a plea to pass a blanket order to remove all encroachments in India, was irked by an activist's candid admission that he had never voted in his life.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice J. S. Khehar, Justices N. V. Ramana and D. Y. Chandrachud, said that people who don't vote have "no right" to blame the government.

In context

Vote before you blame the government

The Supreme Court's observation

"One can't blame the government for everything. If a person does not cast his vote, then he has no right to question the government," said the Supreme Court bench.


The context behind the Supreme Court's harsh observation

The Supreme Court's observation came when Dhanesh Leshdhan, representing the Delhi-based NGO 'Voice of India', blamed the government for not taking any action to remove encroachments in India.

Leshdhan kept insisting on a blanket order by the Supreme Court to remove such encroachments.

The bench, in turn, asked Leshdhan whether he had voted or not, to which Leshdhan replied in the negative.

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Leshdhan's reply to the Supreme Court's question

Upon being asked by the Supreme Court as to whether he had voted, Ieshdhan candidly replied, "To be honest, I have never voted in my life".


SC asks the petitioner to move respective High Courts

The bench explained to Leshdhan that it was not possible for the Supreme Court to look into encroachments across India while sitting in Delhi, and that an open-ended direction to remove encroachments would not yield any results.

Instead the bench asked the petitioner to seek remedy to encroachments by moving High Courts in states where he noticed such encroachments on pavements, roads, etc.

The Supreme Court's explains why a blanket order isn't possible

"We do not have so much power to order a clean sweep of encroachments. If we pass any order, then contempt cases and other petitions will pile up. It's not possible," the Supreme Court told Leshdhan.

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