SC asks EC to reschedule poll timing due to Ramzan

The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Election Commission to decide a plea for re-scheduling the voting timing from 4.30 or 5 am instead of 7 am in remaining phases of general elections 2019 to ensure higher turnout, particularly of Muslim community, who observed fast during Ramzan and may face severe heat-wave conditions.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna disposed of the writ petition filed by advocate Mohammad Nizamuddin Pasha.

The court took up the matter after senior advocate Meenakshi Arora mentioned it on behalf of Pasha. It directed the poll panel to decide the representation by the petitioner.

The advocate, in his plea, said that the sole object of his petition was to increase the voter participation. For that purpose, there should be a fair and convenient opportunity to persons of all community, particularly, the Muslim to enable them to cast their vote and ensure equal participation in the democratic process, consistent with Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution.

In order to make sure the outcome of general elections be truly representative, the timing of polling in the fifth, sixth and seventh phase of polling scheduled on May 6, 12 and 19 should be preponed by two to two and half hours, he said.

The petitioner said the Holy month of Ramzan is likely to commence from May 6 during which the Muslims would observe fast.

He said the meteorological department has already issued a warning that the temperature during this period is likely to increase by five degrees above normal in the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, which are going to witness the polling.

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