Approach EC on burqa issue, says apex court

Approach EC on burqa issue, says apex court

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan said: “Approach the Election Commission within four weeks to resolve the issue if any.’’

Rejecting the contention of M Ajmal Khan, the petitioner, the EC in its reply told the apex court: “Photo electoral rolls are not given to the public at large but only to polling agents and recognised political parties.’’

Dispelling apprehensions of the petitioner that photos of Muslims were being misused, the EC said: “It can be presumed that such entities are responsible persons and shall take steps to prevent its misuse. Even polling agents and political parties are not provided photographs in soft copies.’’

Unfettered access
“It is respectfully submitted that in view of the above-mentioned facts the very notion that members of public have unfettered access to images of any person including a ‘purdah nashin/gosha’ woman is incorrect,’’ the affidavit said.
In a petition before the Supreme Court, Khan had said that publication of photographs of Muslim gosha women in an electoral roll was against their religious belief.
However, on the first date of hearing Justice Balakrishnan had observed that “you cannot say I will still be a burqa-clad and will exercise my voting rights.’’
The apex court even went on to say that if having photographs on election identity cards and electoral rolls went against religious tenets and hurt religious sentiments of a section of Muslim women, they could decide not to vote.

Khan had filed an appeal in the SC against the Election Commission order making it mandatory to carry photo identity cards while casting the vote. Khan had also appealed against the EC’s move to publish electoral rolls with photos of Muslim women.
DH News Service

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