Congress questions ECI on disclosing polling data through Form 17C | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Congress questions ECI on disclosing polling data through Form 17C

ByAkshita Kumari
May 24, 2024 11:25 AM IST

The ECI on May 22 informed the Supreme Court that no legal entitlement exists to demand the publication of final authenticated data regarding voter turnout in all polling stations

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Thursday questioned Election Commission of India (ECI) over the party’s demand on disclosure of Form 17C, which records number of votes that were cast in a polling station.

Form 17C records number of votes that were cast in a polling station. (Representative file photo)
Form 17C records number of votes that were cast in a polling station. (Representative file photo)

“Despite our complaint, the names of the prime minister and the home minister were not mentioned in any document of the Election Commission. The Commission did not warn anyone, impose any sanctions, and make no allegations and just wrote to the presidents of both the parties asking their star campaigners not to violate the model code of conduct (MCC)”, the former Rajya Sabha member said.

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“Election Commission says that data will be tampered, someone can morph the photo. In this case no data can be uploaded. This reply of the Election Commission is just a process of avoidance. Whereas anyone can get this data by paying money to the Election Commission. That is why this is unfortunate and shows that the Election Commission has a one-sided inclination,” Singhvi added.

Also Read: ‘How is it a secret’: ECI faces questions on poll data stand

The ECI on May 22 informed the Supreme Court that no legal entitlement exists to demand the publication of final authenticated data regarding voter turnout in all polling stations.

In an affidavit submitted to the apex court, the poll panel said that the release of voter turnout information derived from Form 17C (votes cast in each polling station) could lead to voter confusion, as it would encompass counts from postal ballots as well.

A copy of Form 17 C Part I is given to the polling agents (of political parties) by the presiding officer, detailing the number of eligible voters assigned to the booth, number of electors in the register of voters, the number of voters who decided not to exercise their franchise, and the number of voters not allowed to vote. It requires the presiding officer to specify the number of votes recorded as per the EVMs. Polling agents are mandated to give the officer a receipt under Section 49S of the Conduct of Election Rules (CoER), 1961.

Raising questions on the same, Singhvi said, “The demand for disclosure of Form 17 C data before the Supreme Court is very simple. Which machine with which serial number is installed in which polling station? How many votes were cast on each machine? The Election Commission should post all these things on its website.”

“We never want, and Congress also never wants, to witness the decline of the Election Commission, an institution that has been promoted and flourished for so long, to the extent that it invites commentary,” said Singhvi.

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