A current article in the Times of India wondered the proper of people with intellectual infection to vote with the aid of raising doubts about their judgment: “Theirs cannot be treated as a truthful vote, as they do not enjoy an unhindered experience of judgment to make a desire.”
With u. S. A. Going to polls in April and May, this difficulty has crucial implications that advantage pressing interest. There are problems that need to be responded right here. First, what does the Indian regulation say approximately the right of men and women with intellectual infection to vote? Second, have to they are denied their right to vote as they “do now not have the capability” to make a preference?
Answering the primary query is straightforward. Section sixteen of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 deals with ‘Disqualification for Registration in an electoral roll’. Under Section 16 (b) someone may be disqualified as a voter if the person, ‘is of unsound mind and stands so declared by way of a capable courtroom’.
From the above, it’s miles clean that conditions have to be happy for someone to be disqualified from being enrolled as a voter. First, the character has to be of ‘unsound thoughts’ and 2d, a ready court must arrive at this finding.
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But the term ‘unsound thoughts’ has no longer been defined anywhere in any Indian law or inside the constitution.
Defining an “unsound mind”
Indian Contract Act, 1872 is the only regulation which defines a ‘sound thoughts’. Section 12 of the Indian Contract Act says a person is of sound mind…’if at the time while he makes it (contract), he is capable of expertise it and of forming a rational judgment as to its effects upon his interests’.
Most importantly, the Act further says ‘a person who’s usually of unsound mind, might also make a settlement whilst he’s of sound mind’. Unusually for an Indian regulation, it honestly gives us with a connotation which is extraordinarily applicable to this discussion.
The example underneath Section 12 says ‘(a) A affected person in a lunatic asylum (sic), who’s at intervals of sound thoughts, can also contract at some point of those durations’. Thus, Indian Contracts Act, 1872 recognizes both the task-specific nature of capacity (this is, a person may additionally have the capacity to make decisions about certain matters and now not about different things) and also that capacity to make decisions fluctuate over the years.
Pollock & Mulla (14th Edition) is an authoritative ebook on the interpretation of the Indian Contract Act. This e-book has the subsequent to say about ‘sound mind’:
‘Previous or next intellectual disorder isn’t always cloth to the fact, the presumption is in favor of sanity, the onus of supplying unsound mind is on the person who alleges it and past remedy of mental infection is only prima facie evidence of mental ailment.