Bom­bay HC Asks Govt to Re­vise Rolls, But Re­fuses Stay on Re­sults

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - PTI

Ad­mit­ting a clutch of pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tions that chal­lenged dele­tion of half a mil­lion names in vot­ers’ lists in Mum­bai and Pune, the Bom­bay High Court on Mon­day asked the Ma­ha­rash­tra govern­ment to re­vise the elec­toral rolls, but re­jected a plea that sought stay on the 2014 Lok Sabha poll re­sults.

The court, how­ever, asked the state to in­vite sug­ges­tions and ob­jec­tions by plac­ing ad­ver­tise­ments in three prom­i­nent news­pa­pers in each of these cities say­ing that elec­toral rolls were be­ing re­vised.

The court made it clear that such re­vi­sion shall have no nexus with the on­go­ing Lok Sabha elec­tions.

The rul­ing was de­liv­ered by a bench of jus­tices Ab­hay Oka and MS Sonak, who, how­ever, dis­missed an­other PIL filed by Pratap Gaik­wad, al­leg­ing miss­ing names in vot­ers’ list in Pune and urg­ing a di­rec­tion to the au­thor­i­ties to in­clude them in the elec­toral col­lege in the re­cently held polls.

The judges ad­mit­ted five PILs, which chal­lenged the dele­tion of vot­ers from the elec­toral rolls and kept the mat­ter for fi­nal hear­ing on the point of main­tain­abil­ity.

The court re­fused to grant any

VOTING BLUES Amol Palekar in­terim re­lief prayed by the pe­ti­tion­ers that sup­ple­men­tary polls be held in these con­stituen­cies, where names of vot­ers were found deleted in the vot­ers’ list and al­low them to cast their vote. The court also re­jected the prayer to res­train the dec­la­ra­tion of elec­tion re­sults for Lok Sabha polls 2014 and ap­point­ing an SIT headed by a re­tired Supreme Court or high court judge to hold an in­quiry into the dele­tion of vot­ers. The judges fur­ther re­jected the chal­lenge to the va­lid­ity of Sec­tion 23(3) of the Rep­re­sen­ta­tion of People Act, 1950 and Ar­ti­cle 329 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia, which im­poses a bar on the court to in­ter­fere in elec­toral mat­ters. The court held that the vot­ers’ list be up­dated in view of the as­sem­bly elec­tions to be held later this year and asked the state to advertise in three news­pa­pers each in Pune and Mum­bai to in­form the people that the elec­toral rolls were be­ing re­vised and take note of their sug­ges­tions or ob­jec­tions. Ac­cept­ing the state­ment made by the ad­vo­cate gen­eral Dar­ius Kham­bata that the re­vi­sion of elec­toral rolls for Pune and Mum­bai con­stituen­cies shall be un­der­taken at the ear­li­est, the judges said that in pur­suance thereof in­di­vid­ual ap­pli­ca­tions in the pre­scribed forms for in­clu­sion in the elec­toral rolls shall be dis­posed of in ac­cor­dance with law, prefer­ably within 30 days from the date of their re­ceipt. The PILs, ad­mit­ted by the court, were filed by for for­mer IAS of­fi­cer Arun Bha­tia, Ravi Shinde, Sharad Phadke, Bhai Cha­van and an NGO called Ac­tion for Good Gov­er­nance. Ac­tor Amol Palekar and his ac­tor wife Sand­hya Gokhale were al­lowed to in­ter­vene in the PIL filed by Bha­tia as their names were not found in vot­ers’ list dur­ing the April 17 Lok Sabha elec­tions held in Pune.

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