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SC refuses to consider a plea directing ECI to publish information on the total votes polled per booth

The Court, however, refused to grant interim relief, emphasizing the need for a non-interventionist stance during ongoing elections. "As responsible citizens, we must maintain a hands-off approach," the bench noted.

On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to issue any 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 final authenticated data on voter turnout at all polling stations, including the number of votes cast in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, within 48 hours of polling.

A Vacation Bench consisting of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma pointed out that the interim request in the current plea mirrored a request already made in a main petition pending since 2019.

“Compare prayer B of the 2019 plea with prayer A of the 2024 interim application. Previous Supreme Court decisions indicate this cannot be done, with one 1985 judgment stating it can only be done in exceptional cases. Why was this application not filed on March 16?” the Court queried.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing ADR, responded, “We could only file after disclosures by the ECI.”

At the outset, Singh, appearing for ECI, challenged the validity of the petition filed by ADR, arguing that the issues had already been addressed in the EVM-VVPAT case judgment. Contradicting this, Dave argued that the EVM-VVPAT case dealt with post-counting issues, whereas the current petition concerns pre-counting matters.

Singh claimed that ADR’s petition was based on “unfounded suspicions” and “false allegations.” He noted that the petition, filed on May 9, did not mention the EVM-VVPAT case judgment from April 26. Referring to Article 329 of the Constitution, Singh asserted that it prevents judicial interference during the election process.

Singh also explained that the figures in the Voter Turnout App are provisional and based on secondary sources. He disputed ADR’s claim of a 6% discrepancy between the final data and the published figures, stating that the actual variance is only 1-2%.

Highlighting that the Supreme Court had questioned ADR’s credibility in the VVPAT case, Singh argued that the current petition, filed on the same day as the adverse judgment, deliberately suppressed this judgment. Singh further claimed that such petitions undermine voter turnout by continuously questioning the electoral process.

The Court, consequently, refused to grant interim relief, emphasizing the need for a non-interventionist stance during ongoing elections. “As responsible citizens, we must maintain a hands-off approach,” the bench noted.

Consequently, the Court ordered that the matter be scheduled for after the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. “Prima facie, we are not inclined to grant interim relief as prayer A of the 2019 petition is similar to prayer B of the 2024 application. List the interim plea after the summer vacation,” the Court stated.

The Court clarified that no opinion was expressed on the merits, apart from the prima facie view.

On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to issue any 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 final authenticated data on voter turnout at all polling stations, including the number of votes cast in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, within 48 hours of polling.

A Vacation Bench consisting of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma pointed out that the interim request in the current plea mirrored a request already made in a main petition pending since 2019.

“Compare prayer B of the 2019 plea with prayer A of the 2024 interim application. Previous Supreme Court decisions clearly indicate this cannot be done, with one 1985 judgment stating it can only be done in exceptional cases. Why was this application not filed on March 16?” the Court queried.

Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing ADR, responded, “We could only file after disclosures by the ECI.”

The Court, however, refused to grant interim relief, emphasizing the need for a non-interventionist stance during ongoing elections. “As responsible citizens, we must maintain a hands-off approach,” the bench noted.

Consequently, the Court ordered that the matter be scheduled for after the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. “Prima facie, we are not inclined to grant interim relief as prayer A of the 2019 petition is similar to prayer B of the 2024 application. List the interim plea after the summer vacation,” the Court stated.

The Court clarified that no opinion was expressed on the merits, apart from the prima facie view.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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