SC dismisses Cong plea on MP, Raj poll rolls
New Delhi: Ahead of the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan beginning November 28, the Congress suffered a defeat in the Supreme Court as its plea questioning the credibility of the voters list prepared by the Election Commission was repelled by the apex court on Friday.
Top Congress leaders — Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot — had approached the Supreme Court demanding draft electoral rolls in text format that could be verifiable on ground by the party. In addition, the two leaders even demanded that the Election Commission conduct random checks at 10 per cent Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips at randomly selected polling booths.
Dismissing the twin demands, the bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan agreed with the Election Commission that the task of de-duplication and removal of fake entries in the electoral roll was completed by May 2018 that led to deletion of 24 lakh entries. Following this, a draft electoral roll was prepared and the final Electoral Roll for the poll-bound states was published on September 27. A copy of it was supplied to the Congress Party as well in which the defects as pointed out by the petitioners got rectified, the bench noted.
About handing over the rolls in text format to the party, the poll panel informed the court that such a step could jeopardise the privacy of citizens as this is ready data that can be commercially exploited or mined.
The bench said, “The EC has taken a conscious decision not to give copies of these voter list to political parties in scannable text mode keeping in view the issue of privacy of voters .... the petitioner cannot claim, as a right, that the draft electoral roll should be placed on the website in a ‘searchable mode’.”
Congress leader Kamal Nath (2R) is one of the petitioners