SC re­jects Pilot, Ka­mal Nath plea on Ra­jasthan, MP elec­toral rolls

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - My India My Vote - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

The Supreme Court on Fri­day dis­missed two sep­a­rate pe­ti­tions by se­nior Congress lead­ers Ka­mal Nath and Sachin Pilot — one de­mand­ing the vot­ers’ list in poll-bound Mad­hya Pradesh and Ra­jasthan be pro­vided in text for­mat and the other seek­ing di­rec­tions to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion to ran­domly ver­ify at least 10 % Voter Ver­i­fi­able Pa­per Au­dit Trail (VVPAT) slips with votes cast on elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chines (EVMs).

Polls in Mad­hya Pradesh will be held on Novem­ber 28 and in Ra­jasthan on De­cem­ber 7.

On the plea seek­ing di­rec­tions to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion that the vot­ers’ list be pub­lished in a “text for­mat “in­stead of the PDF for­mat, a bench of jus­tices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan held that such for­mat will mean a pub­li­ca­tion of the list that will con­tain only the text of the elec­tor’s de­tails such as his name, ad­dress, and age, and not his or her pho­to­graph.

Ka­mal Nath had ap­proached the Supreme Court high­light­ing var­i­ous duplicate, il­le­gal, in­valid and false en­tries/vot­ers in the elec­toral rolls of Mad­hya Pradesh for the en­su­ing assem­bly elec­tions.

He had ar­gued that po­lit­i­cal par­ties should be pro­vided vot­ers’ list in text for­mat so that they are in a po­si­tion to scan and find out whether there are any duplicate or fake vot­ers in the rolls pre­pared by the EC.

How­ever, the poll panel, in an af­fi­davit filed on Septem­ber 18, had jus­ti­fied pro­vid­ing the draft elec­toral roll in PDF for­mat in Mad­hya Pradesh with­out the pic­tures of the vot­ers and said it was done to pre­vent ma­nip­u­la­tion of elec­tors’ data.

Dis­miss­ing the pleas, the apex court also lauded the im­par­tial role of the EC in con­duct­ing elec­tions.

“There is no doubt about the bona fides of the ECI... In the l ast 25-30 years, ECI has built up the rep­u­ta­tion of an im­par­tial body...,” the Supreme Court said.

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