Supreme Court notice on plea over duplication of voters, VVPAT manipulation
Kamal Nath and Pilot have alleged that the updated electoral rolls of MP and Rajasthan include duplicate, repeat, multiple, illegal, invalid and false entries of voters.Updated: Aug 23, 2018 23:25 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Election Commission on petitions filed by Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot alleging duplication of voters in the voters’ list of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
A bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan agreed to take up the matter on August 31 and asked the Election Commission to file its response by then.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi made a brief submission on behalf of the two leaders. For Kamal Nath, he said the commission had refused to give a text board for the electoral roll in Madhya Pradesh, even as it did so in Rajasthan. The reason given by the commission is that a text board would affect the privacy of the electorate, which Singhvi termed as bizarre.
In their petitions, filed through advocate Varun Chopra, both Kamal Nath and Pilot have alleged that the updated electoral rolls of MP and Rajasthan include duplicate, repeat, multiple, illegal, invalid and false entries of voters.
Kamal Nath said he had submitted a detailed representation to the commission on June 3, 2018, highlighting 60 lakh such entries. He added that the commission had dropped more than 24 lakh voters from the list published in January 2018. The poll panel has admitted that over 2.37 lakh photo entries have been found to be suspicious, unclear and blank.
In Rajasthan, Pilot said there were around 42 lakh fake voters.
The two leaders claimed that there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of voters vis-à-vis population growth. Also, they want immediate counting of voter verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) if a candidate is not satisfied with the counting process or the results.
“If further, the candidate or his agent is not satisfied with the counting or the results, he should be permitted for counting of the VVPAT paper trails of particular booth(s) to a maximum of 50% of booths in the constituency and to compare it with the VVPAT results,” the petitions said.
The returning officer should be required to give a certificate of counting and comparison of paper trails to the candidates, forthwith. This would also go a long way to establish the credibility of VVPAT machines, the two said.
Since the impression on the paper trail does not last more than 20 days, the leaders have suggested use of good quality paper and thermal printer in the VVPAT machines. If the impression fades, it will be impossible to count the paper trail at all. The two also want that there should be unique identification numbers on VVPAT and paper trail collection boxes.
First Published: Aug 23, 2018 19:29 IST