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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Supreme Court refuses to issue directive to Election Commission on voter turnout data plea

The apex court, however, listed the matter for further hearing in July and clarified that it was not making any observations on the merits of the issue raised by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) in the original petition filed in 2019

Our Legal Correspondent New Delhi Published 25.05.24, 05:49 AM
The Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court. File picture

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to issue any interim directive to the Election Commission on an NGO’s plea for uploading polling booth-wise voter turnout data on its website and favoured a “hands-off attitude” amid the Lok Sabha elections.

The apex court, however, listed the matter for further hearing in July and clarified that it was not making any observations on the merits of the issue raised by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) in the original petition filed in 2019.

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“We can’t interrupt the… process. We are also responsible citizens. Let us trust some authority. We will keep it (application) pending and it will be heard along with the writ petition after the elections are over. In between elections, hands-off attitude has to be there,” Justice Dipankar Datta, heading the bench, told senior advocate Dushyant Dave appearing for ADR.

Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra had also raised a similar plea.

The bench, which included Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, noted that the petitions were filed way back in 2019 and asked why the petitioners chose to move the Supreme Court for relief by way of interim applications after April 26 this year when the election process had already started.

“Granting any relief in IA (interim application) will amount to granting relief in the main petition which is pending,” the bench observed while declining to pass any interim order for disclosure of the booth-wise voter turnout data within 48 hours of polling.

The bench observed that the court could not interdict and pass any direction at a time five phases of polling had already been completed.

Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for the EC, rebutted the allegations made by the petitioners and said the apex court had on April 26 passed a conclusive judgment upholding the validity of the EVMs and VVPATs being used by the poll panel.

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