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