CHENNAI: A division bench of the Madras High Court has ordered notice to the Election Commission of India on a memo filed by DMK organising secretary R S Bharathi, alleging that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has not deleted names of 5,117 bogus voters from the electoral list in the RK Nagar Assembly constituency where a by-election is scheduled for December 21.
Originally, Bharathi had filed a PIL petition to ‘purify’ the voters’ list in RK Nagar and the first bench, led by Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, directed the ECI to conduct the bypoll to RK Nagar by December 31, after recording the ECI submission that the names of 45,819 bogus voters had been deleted. However, alleging that names of 5,117 bogus voters were yet to be deleted from the list, senior counsel P Wilson, appearing for the DMK, prayed to the bench on December 6 to re-open the case. When the matter came up on Friday, Wilson submitted that the ECI had made a statement before this court that 45,819 names had been deleted. But on verification, the petitioner came to know that of the 45,819 voters, 5,117 names of bogus voters had not been deleted yet.
The EC authorities are still helping the ruling party and so the non-deletion has been done purposefully by the Chennai Corporation Commissioner in collusion with the Election Commissioner, he alleged. The ECI had made a false statement before the court that 100 per cent verification had been done and 45,819 bogus voters’ names deleted, the petitioner said, adding that he had 2 CDs to prove that 5,117 voters’ names had not been deleted yet.
When the bench pointed out that petitioner could file a contempt petition, Wilson said he could not file it since the first bench, after recording the ECI submission, had closed the petition. The petitioner can only file a petition for perjury since the ECI had made a false representation, Wilson added. Niranjan Rajagopal, appearing for the ECI, submitted that factually the petitioner was not correct. The ECI has now found that there are 1,947 multiple entries.
But, it could not delete them from the list now since there is a statutory bar on inclusion or exclusion of names after the announcement of election process. Section 23 (3) of the Representation of People Act, bars any changes now. A separate list will be prepared in respect of 1,947 voters and circulated to booth officers and political parties. If a person from the list comes to the booth, the officers will be alerted and the person concerned will not be allowed to vote. Therefore, there will not be any multiple voting, he added. The matter has been posted to December 11.