SC Agrees to Hear Plea for Timely Voter Turnout Data in Lok Sabha Elections

Lok Sabha Elections

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea from an NGO seeking the Election Commission of India (ECI) to upload polling station-wise voter turnout data on its website within 48 hours of each phase’s conclusion in the Lok Sabha elections.

Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta stated that the matter will be listed on 17th May (Friday), following advocate Prashant Bhushan’s request for urgent listing of the petition on behalf of the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The NGO’s Plea

The NGO had filed an interim application in its 2019 PIL last week, seeking directions for the poll panel to upload “scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part-I (Account of Votes Recorded)” of all polling stations immediately after the polls.

“The Election Commission should be directed to provide tabulated polling station-wise data in absolute figures of the number of votes polled as recorded in Form 17C Part-I after each phase of polling in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha elections, along with constituency-wise figures of voter turnout in absolute numbers,” stated the NGO.

It emphasized that the plea aims to safeguard the democratic process from electoral irregularities.

Delay in Two Phases

Citing the delay in the publication of voter turnout data for the first two phases of the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha elections by the ECI, the petition raised concerns about the sharp increase in percentages compared to initial announcements. The petition highlighted the “inordinate” delay and the significant revision in the poll panel’s press note of April 30, 2024, which has sparked public suspicion regarding the accuracy of the data.

The petition further stated that the non-release of the absolute number of votes polled, combined with the “unreasonable delay” in releasing this data, has led to apprehensions among voters. It stressed the necessity of addressing and dispelling these concerns to uphold voters’ confidence, advocating for the disclosure of scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part-I within 48 hours of polling station closure.

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