Erode (East) bypoll | A confidential absentee, shift and dead list will be maintained, Election Commission tells Madras HC

Judges close the writ petition filed by AIADMK organising secretary C.Ve. Shanmugam after recording the steps taken by the commission for a free and fair election

Updated - February 21, 2023 04:09 pm IST

Published - February 20, 2023 09:56 pm IST - CHENNAI

Photos and videos of ASD voters would  be shot and they would be required to sign a declaration, the commission said.

Photos and videos of ASD voters would be shot and they would be required to sign a declaration, the commission said.

The Election Commission on Monday informed the Madras High Court that a confidential Absentee, Shift and Dead (ASD) voters list is being maintained by it to prevent bogus voting in Erode (East) Assembly byelection by impersonating voters who had shifted their residence or had died.

Acting Chief Justice T. Raja and Justice D. Bharatha Chakravarthy were told that the names of those in the ASD list would be read aloud in the polling booths when they come to vote so that the booth agents of various candidates could take note of such voters and make appropriate entries.

The ASD list voters would be required to affix their thumb impressions too apart from affixing their signature on the relevant documents before casting their vote. Photos and videos of such voters would also be shot and they would be required to sign a declaration, the commission said.

The submissions were made during the hearing of a writ petition filed by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) organising secretary C.Ve. Shanmugam apprehending the possibility of bogus voting. Representing him, senior counsel Vijay Narayan insisted sharing the ASD list with the petitioner.

However, advocate Niranjan Rajagopalan, representing the commission, told the Bench that the ASD list was confidential and that sharing it with the candidates might increase the possibility of impersonation. The Bench recorded his submission and closed the case filed by the AIADMK leader.

Filing a detailed counter affidavit, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Anne Joseph had said the process of byelection had been smooth and uneventful so far. She asserted there was no reason for the writ petitioner to apprehend any malpractice and termed his allegations to be exaggerated.

Stating that the petitioner’s party was part of the draft electoral roll preparation process, the ACEO said then no party had raised any complaint regarding ASD voters. She also assured the court the stringent safeguards put in place for dealing with ASD voters were sufficient to prevent malpractices.

Further, apprising the court of other measures put in place, the officials stated that 12 flying squads and 12 static surveillance teams had been pressed into service in the constituency. Further, five companies of Central Reserve Police Force comprising of 409 personnel too had been deployed.

On February 27, the day of polling, the entire proceedings in all 238 polling booths would be recorded on video and monitored by senior officials through web casting. Even after polling, all vehicles that would carry the Electronic Voting Machines would be fitted with Global Positioning System (GPS) to monitor their movements, she added.

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