Explain the updation of Assam voter list, SC tells Elections Commission
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission to explain how it will deal with people who make it to the voters’ list in Assam but are excluded from Assam’s final citizens’ register. “We are not concerned with elections,” Chief Justice of India Rajan Gogoi said.
The court, which is overseeing implementation of the citizens’ register in the state, was approached by two petitioners who complained that their names were taken off the voting list because they didn’t make it to an early version of the citizens’ list.
The judges also asked election officials to come back with Assam’s electoral rolls for the last three years to explain how the commission had gone about updating the voters list relating to deletion and addition of names.
The top court also asked the election commission to explain how it intended to reconcile the list of voters with the citizens’ register in Assam.
Two Assam-based residents, Gopal Seth who hails from North 24 Parganas in West Bengal and Susanta Sen of Sibsagar district in Assam had petitioned that they had voted in previous election. According to the petition, their names had been deleted from the draft national register of citizens.
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.