SC rejects plea to advance poll timing due to Ramzan

A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna said the Election Commission had already examined the issue and it may create a problem of logistics for it. (PTI File Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea for re-scheduling of voting timing to 4.30 or 5 am instead of 7 am in the final phase of general elections 2019 to ensure higher turnout, particularly of Muslim community, who may not turn up due to severe heat-wave conditions during the fasting month of Ramzan.

A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna said the Election Commission had already examined the issue and it may create a problem of logistics for it.

"How far can we intervene, only one phase is remaining," the bench also observed as petitioner advocate Mohammad Nizamuddin Pasha contended that the poll body was making a mockery of the situation.

The counsel, particularly, cited the meteorological department's warning not to venture out between 12 noon to 3 pm to stress that Muslims would face difficulty in coming out to vote.

The top court, however, remained firm not to intervene in the matter, saying the poll panel had made a reasoned decision.

The apex court had on May 2 asked the poll watchdog to decide a representation by the petitioner on the subject.

The advocate, in his previous plea in the court, 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, Muslima 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 should be preponed by two to two and a half hours, he said.

The petitioner said during the Holy month of Ramzan, the Muslims observed fast and would not be able to come out to vote due to heat.

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