SC seeks ECI’s response on disclosing ‘authenticated’ voter turnout after each phase of LS polls

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on disclosing the authenticated record of voter turnout after each phase of polling for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Posting the matter for hearing on May 24, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), D.Y. Chandrachud, granted a week to the poll panel to respond to the application seeking directions to the ECI to disclose on its official website the scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part- I (Account of Votes Recorded) of all polling stations containing the authenticated figures for votes polled, within 48 hours of the close of polling.

The bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, decided to take up the matter after advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned it for urgent hearing.

The plea also demanded that the ECI should provide a tabulation of constituency and polling station-wise figures of voter turnout in absolute numbers and percentage form for the ongoing general elections.

Referring to the voter turnout data published by the ECI on April 30 for the first two phases of polling, 11 days after the first phase of polling on April 19, and four days after the second phase of polling on April 26, the plea claimed “dereliction of duty” on the part of the poll panel in declaring election results (of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies through Electronic Voting Machines).

“The data, as published by the ECI in its press release dated April 30, 2024, shows a sharp increase (by about 5-6 per cent) as compared to the initial percentage announced by ECI, as of 7 p.m. on the day of polling.

“It is submitted that the inordinate delay in the release of final voter turnout data, coupled with the unusually high revision (of over 5 per cent) in the ECI’s press note of April 30, 2024, and the absence of disaggregated constituency and polling station figures in absolute numbers, has raised concerns and public suspicion regarding the correctness of the said data,” it said.

The application added that these apprehensions must be addressed and put to rest, and to uphold the voter’s confidence and ensure that the democratic process is not subverted by electoral irregularities, and ensure free and fair elections.


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