The Election Commission has rejected a plea seeking revision of the commencement of voting time from 7 AM to 4.30-5.00 AM during the month of Ramzan. It said, “Commission does not find it feasible to alter the existing hours of polls for the 5th, 6th & 7th phase of general elections to the Lok Sabha, 2019.”
EC rejects plea seeking rescheduling of the commencement of voting from 7 am to 4.30/5.00 am during the month of Ramzan. EC States “Commission does not find it feasible to alter the existing hours of poll for the 5th, 6th & 7th phase of general elections to the Lok Sabha, 2019.” pic.twitter.com/grV4MfiJx8
— ANI (@ANI) May 5, 2019
The Supreme Court, on May 2, had asked the Election Commission to consider the plea seeking to reschedule the voting time from 7 am to 5 am during Ramzan coinciding with the last three phases of the Lok Sabha elections.
The petition, filed by two lawyers, Mohammad Nizammudin Pasha and Asad Hayat, sought the Supreme Court to direct the Election Commission to increase the poll timings by 2 to 2 and a half hours so the voting could begin at 4:30 am or 5:00 am as it would ensure convenient and fair opportunity for everyone to cast their vote, especially, the Muslim community.
Moreover, the heatwave conditions in Rajasthan and other states had also been attributed as the reason behind the need to have an early start to polling in the Lok Sabha elections.
“In this intense heat, it will be difficult for Muslim voters to queue up at the polling booths during the day in the intense heat to exercise their franchise,” the petition stated, and furthered that the advancement of the poll timing would allow Muslim to vote immediately after the morning prayers (Fajr) and return home before it gets too hot.
Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims begins on May 5.
According to the petition, the representation had been made to the Election Commission but since EC hadn’t responded or acknowledged the representation, the Supreme Court was requested to direct the EC to extend the timings to help Muslim voters.
Moreover, after the polling dates were announced on March 10, there had been some debates over the Lok Sabha poll dates coinciding with the Ramzan month. The Election Commission had then too clarified that it had excluded the date of the main festival and Fridays from the polling schedule.
Meanwhile, voting for the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections in 51 constituencies spread across seven states, namely, Bihar (5 seats), Jharkhand (4), Madhya Pradesh (7), Rajasthan (12), Uttar Pradesh (14), West Bengal (7) and Jammu and Kashmir (2 seats) began today. Results will be declared on May 23.