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'Hands-off': Supreme Court declines to interfere with EC on voter turnout data during Lok Sabha elections 2024

Apex court says 'In between elections, hands off! We can't interrupt the process. We are also responsible citizens'

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- May 24th 2024 01:39 PM -- Updated: May 24th 2024 01:41 PM
'Hands-off': Supreme Court declines to interfere with EC on voter turnout data during Lok Sabha elections 2024

'Hands-off': Supreme Court declines to interfere with EC on voter turnout data during Lok Sabha elections 2024

PTC Web Desk: The Supreme Court on Friday adopted a 'hands-off' approach, refusing to issue orders on a plea by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). The plea sought a directive for the Election Commission to upload polling station-wise voter turnout data on its website within 48 hours of each phase of the Lok Sabha Elections.

The Supreme Court said such matters should be addressed after the Lok Sabha elections 2023, and now, it shall not interrupt the electoral process.


A Vacation Bench comprising Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice SC Sharma conveyed this decision to senior counsel Dushyant Dave, representing ADR. "This application will be heard after the elections. In between elections, hands off! We can't interrupt the process. We are also responsible citizens. Let the application be heard along with the main writ petition. Let us have some trust in the authorities," the Bench added.


Association for Democratic Reforms had filed an interim application on May 10 in a 2019 Public Interest Litigation (PIL), requesting that the Election Commission upload "scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part-I (Account of Votes Recorded)" from all polling stations immediately after the polls. However, the bench was not persuaded to hear the application during the ongoing elections. They pointed out that the interim application in 2024 closely mirrored the 2019 petition, making it inappropriate to grant interim relief.

Senior counsel Maninder Singh, representing the Election Commission, argued that the ADR's petition, which dated back four years, was based on unfounded concerns about the electoral process. "The trust in the election process has to be strengthened and not punctured. The EC takes steps on its own wherever it thinks fit. These applications are merely apprehensions," Singh noted.

Highlighting a previous Supreme Court verdict on April 26 regarding EVM-VVPAT, Maninder Singh suggested that the court had already questioned the bona fides of ADR. He urged the Bench to dismiss the plea, arguing that continuous challenges to the electoral process could undermine citizen participation in democracy. 

The Supreme Court deferred hearing ADR's plea to after the elections. The case will now be considered alongside the main writ petition post-election.

- With inputs from agencies

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