The petition

  • The Association for Democratic Reforms on Friday filed a petition in the Supreme Court over the inordinate delay in the publication of voter turnout data by the Election Commission coupled with unusually high revisions after the first two phases of polling in the Lok Sabha election.
  • The petition, filed by ADR counsels Prashant Bhushan, Neha Rathi and Cheryl D’Souza, said the delay in publishing the voter-turnout details and a sharp spike in figures from the initial percentages released by the EC raise concerns and public suspicion regarding the accuracy of the data.

The contention

  • The ADR’s petition says that the voter turnout data for the first two phases of the Lok Sabha election were published on April 30, after 11 days of the first phase of polling held on April 19 and four days after the second phase of polling held on April 26.
  • The April 30 data showed a sharp — 5-6% — increase from the initial percentages announced on the polling day.

What the petitioner wants

  • The plea seeks a direction from the court to the EC to disclose authenticated record of voter turnout by uploading on its website scanned legible copies of account of votes recorded at polling stations after each phase of voting in the on-going Lok Sabha election.
  • It also seeks the publication of a constituency and polling station wise voter turnout data in both absolute numbers and in percentage form.

The law

  • The petition invokes Rule 49S and Rule 56C (2) of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which require the presiding officer to prepare an account of votes recorded in form 17C (Part I) and the returning officer to record the number of votes in favour of each candidate.
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