NEW DELHI: In a setback to senior Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed their petitions seeking draft electoral rolls in a searchable text format in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan saying they were not entitled under the Election Manual. A Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the decision on the format in which the rolls are published is made by the Election Commission of India (EC).
“Clause 188.8.131.52 of the Election Manual says nowhere that the draft electoral roll has to be put up on the Chief Electoral Officer’s website in a searchable PDF. Therefore, the petitioner cannot claim, as a right, that the draft electoral roll should be placed on the website in a searchable mode. It has only to be in text mode and it is so provided,” the ruling said.
The Bench took note of the submissions by the EC which said publishing in this manner was not possible due to concerns of voter privacy and to prevent voter profiling and data mining. “We are, therefore, of the opinion that the format in which the draft electoral roll is supplied fulfils the requirement,” the Bench said.