The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the Plea by Association for Democratic Reforms seeking investigation into the alleged discrepancies in the 17th Lok Sabha election results.
The court has earlier asked the registry to tag the petition with a similar petition filed by TMC MP Mahua Moitra, who had moved the court seeking publication of details of voter turnout and final vote counts in the said elections.
On Monday, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, on the petitioners' side, urged before the bench headed by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde,
"There is discrepancy in the election data and notice was issued in December, but the Election Commission has not filed its response yet...the Rules now require the VVPAT slips to be preserved for one year after the polls but a RTI reply reveals here they were disposed off within a couple of months..."
"Which Rule stipulates that?", asked the CJ. Mr. Bhushan indicated Rule 94 of the Conduct of Election Rules.
'This is beyond the scope of the petition', it was countered on behalf of the Commission.
"I am only pointing out the things which have come to light after the filing of the petition", asserted Mr. Bhushan.
The ECI has been granted 4 weeks' time to reply.
ADR's plea was filed in order to ensure that democratic process is not subverted by electoral irregularities and to ensure free and fair elections and rule of law and for the enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
They clarified that they had not challenging the 2019 election results but only wished that the Election Commission conducts actual and accurate reconciliation of data before the declaration of the final result of any election.
"…declaring results on unverified data without reconciliation of discrepancies is arbitrary, unjust, not transparent, illogical and unconstitutional. That the discrepancies are too large in numbers spread across the board that it merits a close scrutiny and system to monitor and resolve for future elections to inspire public confidence in the system," they submitted.
It was argued at the strength of a research, conducted by a team of experts with the petitioner organization, that there had been serious discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies (i.e. the voter turnout data collated and provided by the Election Commission) and the number of votes counted.