Source: 
Live Law
https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/lok-sabha-candidate-moves-supreme-court-saying-returning-officer-denied-him-form-17-records-of-votes-polled-258389
Author: 
LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
Date: 
20.05.2024
City: 

Advocate Mehmood Pracha, who contested in the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate from Rampur(UP) constituency, has filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court saying that the Returning Officer has not furnished to him the copies of the Form 17C record of votes polled in the constituency.

Pracha has sought to intervene in the application filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms(ADR) seeking directions to the Election Commission of India to immediately publish voter turnout data after the polling.

In the application, he stated that after the conclusion of voting in Rampur on April 30, he had written to the Returning Officer for supply of the machine-wise data of total votes cast in the polling, as recorded in Form 17-C by the Presiding Officers of the Polling Stations. On May 9, the Returning Officer replied to him stating that the Form 17C copies were given to the polling agents who were present at the Polling Stations and they cannot be given now as they are sealed.

Pracha replied to the Returning Officer contending that copies of such Forms 17-C are necessary to be kept unsealed in the possession of the Returning Officer after the polling and it was also mandatory and incumbent upon the Returning Officer to supply copies of such documents upon an application being made. He relied on Rule 93 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to point out that Form 17C is not mentioned in the documents which are to be kept in sealed condition.

He also contended that Clauses 13.48.2 and 13.55.3, of the Handbook for Returning Officer 2023, mandate that copies of Form 17-C are bound to be readily available with the Returning Officer of a Constituency after the conclusion of polling.

With these submissions, Pracha has sought to be heard in the matter. Last Friday (May 17), a bench led by the Chief Justice of India asked the Election Commission of India to file its response to the ADR's application. During the hearing, the bench orally asked the ECI what was its difficulty in uploading copies of Form 17C on their website. ADR stated that the ECI delayed the publication of final voter turnout date for several days after the polling raising apprehensions in the minds of several voters as there was significant variance in the final data from the initial figures.

A vacation bench of the Court will hear the matter on May 24.

Pracha's application has been filed through Advocate-on-Record RHA Sikander.

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method