Lok Sabha elections 2019: Election Commission to decide if voting may start early during Ramzan
The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Election Commission (EC) to take a call on a representation seeking to advance the beginning of voting to 5 am from 7 am for the remaining three phases of the ongoing national polls due to a heat wave and beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan.
“The Election Commission of India is directed to pass necessary orders,” a Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi-led bench said in response to a plea regarding the representation. Advocates Mohammad Nizamuddin Pasha and Asad Hayat had filed the plea saying the EC has not considered their representation submitted on April 29. The plea said the beginning of Ramzan was likely to coincide with the fifth phase of the polling on May 6. Muslims follow a lunar calendar and beginning of a month is subject to sighting of the moon. Muslims do not even consume water during Ramzan from dawn to dusk.
The plea cited an Indian Meteorological Department report warning of a severe heat wave over the next few days. It added temperatures were expected to rise by up to five degree Celsius than normal in the poll-bound areas of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
“In the intense heat, it will be very difficult for Muslim voters to queue up at the polling booths during the day... During Ramzan, most practising Muslims stay up for an early morning meal and sleep after the morning prayers,” the plea said.