Supreme Court issues notices to Centre, Assam, EC on voting rights of NRC left outs
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Sanjiv Khanna on Friday also sought response from the Assam State Election Commission and the state coordinator for NRC on the issue.Updated: Feb 02, 2019 22:28 IST
The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre, Assam government and the Election Commission on a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding voting rights in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections for those whose names do not figure in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) prepared July 30, 2018.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Sanjiv Khanna on Friday also sought response from the Assam State Election Commission and the state coordinator for NRC on the issue. The plea has been made by two Assam-based residents, Gopal Seth and Susanta Sen.
While Seth is a resident of North 24 Parganas in West Bengal, Sen claims to be a resident of Sibsagar district in Assam. Both reside in Sibsagar district at the moment. Their names have been deleted from the draft NRC. Both used to be voters of Sibsagar Assembly constituency in previous elections.
The court has not fixed the date for the next hearing. However, it said the matter would come up after four weeks.
The petition, filed through advocate Pijush K Roy, has pointed out that the petitioners’ names have been dropped from the Assam voters’ list on the ground that they do not find mention in the draft NRC.
The petitioners have said that deletion of their names is erroneous as they have already filed their objections with the state coordinator for NRC who is finalising the list. They argue that deletion of their names from the voters’ list for Sibsagar district on the basis of the NRC amounted to a violation of their constitutional right to vote.
“The right to vote of a citizen is a statutory right and the freedom of voting is a part of the freedom of expression protected under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India. The voters’ participation explains the strength of democracy. Non-participation causes frustration and disinterest, which is not a healthy sign of a growing democracy like India.
“The right to vote originates from the Constitution and is in accordance with the constitutional mandate contained in Article 326… The right to vote at the elections to the house of the people or legislative assembly is a constitutional right and not merely a statutory right,” the petition said.