SC notice to Centre: EC on mismatch of votes, voters

SC notice to Centre: EC on mismatch of votes, voters

It sought a direction to the EC to formulate a robust procedure for the investigation of all discrepancies in election data in future.

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice a to the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea for probe into alleged serious discrepancies and mismatch in voter turnout and votes counted in 347 seats in the 17th Lok Sabha polls, causing “serious doubts in the mind of citizens about the entire process of counting and result declaration”.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant admitted for consideration a PIL filed jointly by NGOs, Association for Democratic Reforms and Common Cause.

Advocates Prashant Bhushan and Neha Rathi represented the petitioners.

In the plea, the NGOs sought to highlight “dereliction of statutory duty” by the EC in declaring election results of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies through Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) based on accurate and indisputable data.

Their plea claimed lack of reasoned explanation by the EC on “cleanup of certain data from its website".

It sought a direction to the EC to formulate a robust procedure for the investigation of all discrepancies in election data in future.

A real-time reporting of a mobile app called the “My Voter turnout App” for every single constituency was introduced, but the data was published for the first six phases of election in actual numbers of votes polled at every booth in any constituency. However, in the last phase i.e. the 7th phase, only percentage figures were given and previous data was removed, the plea claimed.

“The discontinuation of publication of actual numbers and replacing it with a percentage figure abruptly in the seventh phase was seemingly done to cover up the large number of unexplained discrepancies being recorded in a majority of the constituencies,” their plea contended.

The NGOs claimed discrepancies ranged from 1 vote (lowest) to 1,01,323 votes at 10.49% of the total votes (highest). They named six Parliamentary seats, Guntur, Vishakhapatnam, Anantnag, Khunti, Koraput and Machhlishahr, which recorded a higher discrepancy in votes than the winning margin.

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