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Supreme Court to hear on May 17 plea by ADR on release of voters turnout data

By Jhanak Singh      13 May, 2024 01:57 PM      0 Comments
Supreme Court to hear on May 17 plea by ADR on release of voters turnout data

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday decided to take up on May 17 a plea seeking a direction to the Election Commission to immediately upload account of votes recorded of all polling stations after close of polling of each phase in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, sought urgent listing of the plea before a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta which said that the matter would be considered on Friday.

The plea by Bhushan sought a direction to the Election Commission to provide tabulated polling station-wise data in absolute figures of the number of votes polled as recorded in Form 17C Part- I after each phase of polling in the on-going 2024 Lok Sabha elections and also a tabulation of constituency wise figures of voter turnout in absolute numbers in the on-going 2024 Lok Sabha elections. 

It also pleaded for uploading on website of the EC scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part- II which contained the candidate-wise result of counting after the compilation of results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The NGO filed its application in a 2019 writ petition for ensuring that democratic process is not subverted by electoral irregularities and to ensure free and fair elections and rule of law and for the enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The said writ petition highlighted dereliction of duty on part of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in declaring election results (of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies through Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) based on accurate and indisputable data which is put in public domain.

It contended without the absolute number of voter turnout data, the general public cannot compare the number of votes polled with the number of votes counted as announced in the results and thus, discrepancies, if any, in the two sets of data (number of votes polled at polling booths and number of votes counted by EVM) can only be assessed when absolute numbers, and not merely percentages, for each constituency are released by the EC.

It further said unless the exact figures are brought in the public domain, percentage figures are meaningless for the voter.

The NGO further pointed out the data published in the press release by the EC on April 30, 2024 (Phase I voter turnout- 66.14% and Phase II voter turnout - 66.71%) when compared with the initial data of April 19, 2024 and April 26, 2024 respectively showed an increase of nearly 6% in the Phase I data and increase of approximately 5.75% in the Phase II data.

The plea said All India Trinamool Congress has written a letter on May 06, 2024 to the EC calling upon it to publish the total number of electors in each Parliamentary Constituency, total number of voters as noted in register of voters and number of voters as per EVM for all PCs that have already gone to polls in Phases I and II.

Similarly, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has also written to other political parties questioning the increase in voter turn-out percentage and non-disclosure of number of votes polled in numbers.

On May 03, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of CPI(M) also wrote a letter to the EC raising concerns over delays and discrepancies in the release of voting figures.



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