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Supreme Court refuses to issue EC direction to upload booth-wise voter turnout data amid Lok Sabha polls

During the hearing, the bench said it would be difficult for the poll panel to mobilise manpower for uploading the voter turnout data on its website. The apex court took into cognisance the EC argument that giving 17C on website could lead to mischief and create mistrust among voters.

Edited By: Anurag Roushan @Candid_Tilaiyan New Delhi Updated on: May 24, 2024 12:57 IST
Supreme Court refuses to direct EC to upload booth-wise voter turnout data amid Lok Sabha polls
Image Source : PTI The Supreme Court of India.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: The Supreme Court on Friday declined to issue an interim order on a plea by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The plea sought directives for the Election Commission of India (ECI) to release the final authenticated voter turnout data, including the number of votes cast at each polling station, within 48 hours of polling in the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections. A vacation bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma said it cannot issue any such directions at the moment as five phases of polling have concluded and two remain. The bench also said that it would be difficult for the poll panel to mobilise manpower. 

SC defers ADR plea to post-election

The apex court adjourned the interlocutory application submitted by the ADR to be considered by the regular bench after the elections. The court noted that, at first glance, the requests in the application appear to be similar to those in the main petition pending since 2019. The bench also remarked that it would be challenging for the Election Commission to allocate the necessary manpower to upload the voter turnout data on its website.

“Granting any relief in IA will amount to granting relief in the main petition which is pending. Five phases of polling have already been concluded and it would be difficult for the EC to mobilise manpower to upload voter turnout data on the website. List the interim plea after (summer) vacation,” the bench said.

SC had asked for response from EC

On May 17, the Supreme Court had asked for a response from the Election Commission within a week regarding the ADR's plea. The ADR had filed an interim application in its 2019 PIL seeking directions to the poll panel that "scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part-I (Account of Votes Recorded)" of all polling stations be uploaded immediately after the polls. The application by ADR was filed in response to the recent controversy over the significant increase in the final voter turnout announced by the EC for the first two phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, compared to the initial estimates released on the voting day.

(With inputs from agencies)

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