CHENNAI: Amidst high security and drama, counting of specific postal votes that were left out and recounting of particular rounds of votes cast in EVMs during the 2016 Assembly election to Radhapuram seat concluded on Friday, as directed by Madras High Court. The court registrar who was present throughout the entire process filed a detailed report by evening. The exercise began at 11.30 am with the ballot 34 EVMs along with the postal ballots arriving at as early as 7 am. After inspection of the machines, Registrar general C Kumarappan deputed Registrar (vigilance) Sai Saravanan to supervise the counting conducted in the Library Hall in the court premises.
The counting went on till 7 pm for the Registrar to come out from the closely guarded room with 24 officials to submit the detailed report to the court. Only on this report, Justice G Jayachandran will decide the election petition moved by DMK candidate M Appavu who lost the election to AIADMK’s I S Inbadurai by a slender margin of 49 votes in 2016.
On October 1, Justice Jayachandran passed an interim order on the election petition directing the Election Commission to produce the postal votes and 34 EVMs to the High Court for recounting in the presence of the Registrar General. Around 1 pm when the counting was underway, a battery of advocates representing Inbadurai rushed to inform the counting officials that the Supreme Court took up the appeal and granted an interim stay in releasing the results.
Though Inbadurai wanted the SC to stay the counting as an interim relief, the SC refused any such relief and instead restrained the high court from declaring the results. The main challenge before the apex court was against the decision of the High Court in declaring the attestation made by a school headmaster of a government middle school in 203 postal votes as valid. The same was declared as invalid by Election Commission on the ground that the headmaster was not a gazetted officer.
The challenge before the apex court was against the decision of the HC in declaring the attestation made by a school headmaster of a government middle school in 203 postal votes as valid