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PIL In SC Seeks ECI Action On Reports Of EVM Voter Data Discrepancies [Read Petition]

Karan Tripathi
20 Nov 2019 11:56 AM GMT
PIL In SC Seeks ECI Action On Reports Of EVM Voter Data Discrepancies [Read Petition]
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The NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has filed a PIL before the Supreme Court seeking to direct the Election Commission of India to probe into the reports about discrepancies in the number of votes polled and votes counted in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The petitioner has submitted that ECI declared results on provisional figures and without determining the exact ballot count and without due reconciliation of the discrepancies in various constituencies. 

The petition has sought a direction to be issued to the Election Commission of India to not to announce any provisional and estimated election results prior to actual and accurate reconciliation of data.

The petitioner has also asked for a direction to the ECI to evolve an "efficient, transparent, rational and robust procedure/mechanism" by creating a separate department/grievance cell for investigation of discrepancies in election data and for responding to the elector's queries on the same. Moreover, ECI has a statutory duty to collate and publish accurate data relating to the elections held by it.

It is submitted by the petitioner that, in February 2019 a Manual on Conduct of Elections with EVM-VVPAT was released by the ECI which had chapters on legal provisions for the use of EVM-VVPATs, as well as laid down instructions for counting of votes. However, the manual does not provide for a situation where there are discrepancies during the counting process.

It is also highlighted by the petitioner that the 'My Voter App' which was introduced for the first time during the general elections of 2019 to show voter turnout at each constituency in real time, showed the actual number of voters only for the first 6 phases of polling, and did not do so for the seventh phase. For the seventh phase, only voter percentage was shown all the previous data was removed by the ECI.

It is submitted that as per the research conducted by a team of experts with the petitioner organization, there have been serious discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies and the number of votes counted. The report has given the following conclusions:

  1. That the Master summary of 542 constituencies shows discrepancies in 347 seats. 195 seats are without discrepancies whatsoever.
  2. The discrepancies range from 1 vote (lowest) to 101323 votes @ 10.49% of the total votes (highest).
  3. There are 6 seats where the discrepancy in votes is higher than the winning margin.
  4. The total volume of discrepancies is in the nature of 739104 votes put together.
  5. There is no particular co-relation with any party in respect of discrepancy is observed in the Petitioner's analysis.

The PIL raises the following questions or law before the court:

  1. Whether not framing the guidelines and procedures for resolving objectively the discrepancies observed in the election process in the Manual on Conduct of Elections with EVM-VVPAT as notified in February 2019 by the Respondent No. 1 is arbitrary and therefore ultravires of the Constitution.
  2. Whether the acts of Respondent No.1 in cleaning up the discrepancy data, not resolving the same in an objective and satisfactory manner and refusing to sharing the same in public domain, is arbitrary and contrary to the mandate of the constitution and the concerned statutes and against public policy.
  3. On what basis – actual or estimated, the Respondent No.1 is required to declare the results?
  4. Whether Respondent No. 1 is duty bound and it is necessary for it to dispel doubts among the public in relation to the discrepancies recorded in an election held by it.
  5. Whether the Respondent No.1 can decline sharing with the public the statutory data under Form 17C and Form 20 captured by it during the election process.

In light of these submissions, ADR has asked the Supreme Court to ask ECI to investigate discrepancies that took place in 2019 general elections and release the voting data regarding the said elections in public domain.

Click Here To Read Petition

[Read Petition]

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