Thursday, June 13, 2024

Supreme Court asks ECI why delay in uploading turnout data

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to respond to a plea seeking disclosure of final authenticated data of voter turnout in all polling stations including the number of votes polled in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 within 48 hours of the polling.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra were hearing an application moved Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in a 2019 case. The ECI counsel Amit Sharma opposed the plea and also questioned the locus of ADR.

The Court directed the ECI to file its reply within a week and posted the case for consideration on May 24.

ADR argued that the voter turnout data published by the ECI on April 30 was 11 days after the first phase and 4 days later for the second phase.

The delay, coupled with the high revision rate and the absence of disaggregated constituency and polling station figures in absolute numbers has raised concerns and public suspicion regarding the correctness of the said data, the application stated.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for ADR, said that the ECI must disclose the absolute number of votes polled, a demand raised by several opposition leaders and activists.

The NGO said that, besides delay in publishing the voter turnout details, there was also an unusually sharp spike in figures from the initial voter turnout percentages released by the EC.

The development has raised alarm bells in the public’s mind about the authenticity of the polling data available in the public domain and even whether the electronic voting machines (EVMs) have been switched.


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