Supreme Court issues notice to Election Commission on ‘discrepancies’

Petition says a study was done by them on discrepancy patterns found in ECI website and ‘My Voters Turnout App’.

December 13, 2019 10:02 pm | Updated 11:13 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The petition said there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin./ Photo for representation

The petition said there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin./ Photo for representation

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to respond to a petition filed by two NGOs seeking a probe into alleged discrepancies between voter turnout and the number of votes counted in 347 constituencies in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

“The lack of reasoned explanation by the Respondent No.1 (Election Commission of India) on mismatch and the clean-up of certain data from its website has caused serious doubts in the mind of citizens about the entire process of counting and result declaration,” said the petition filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause, represented by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Neha Rathi.

The petition said a study was done by them on the discrepancy patterns found in the ECI website and the ‘My Voters Turnout App’. These discrepancies ranged from one vote (lowest) to 1,01,323 votes. In fact, the petition said, there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin. The total volume of discrepancies was in the nature of 7,39,104 votes put together, the petition quoted the study.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde issued the notice to the ECI.

The petition asked the court to direct the ECI “to conduct actual and accurate reconciliation of data before the declaration of the final result of any election”. It said the ECI declared the results of the 2019 election on provisional figures, without determining the exact ballot count and without due reconciliation of the discrepancies in various constituencies.

It said, “The ECI has a statutory duty to collate and publish accurate data relating to the elections held by it. It has statutory duty to explain satisfactorily the resolution process, along with the methodology adopted for resolution of the discrepancies recorded during the course of election based on actual figures recorded in the statutory forms at each polling stations.”

It said the ECI’s explanation, given on June 1, on the discrepancies was vague. It had also failed to place the actual data in public domain. “Declaration of election results with alacrity should not be a priority at the altar of accuracy and integrity of elections. Several serious lapses can go unnoticed in the counting process in the rush to declare results and the winners,” the plea stated.

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