Court asks govt to revise rolls as voters complain of missing names
Admitting a clutch of PILs that challenged deletion of half a million names in voters’ lists in Mumbai and Pune, the Bombay High Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra government to revise the electoral rolls, but rejected a plea that sought a stay on the 2014 Lok Sabha poll results.
The court, however, asked the state to invite suggestions and objections by placing advertisements in three prominent newspapers in each of these cities saying that electoral rolls were being revised.
The court made it clear that such revision shall have no connection with the Lok Sabha elections 2014.
The ruling was delivered by a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and MS Sonak, who, however, dismissed another PIL filed by Pratap Gaikwad, raising the issue of missing names on the voters’ list in Pune and seeking a direction to the authorities to include them in the electoral college in the recently held Lok Sabha polls.
The judges admitted five PILs, which challenged the deletion of voters from the electoral rolls and kept the matter for final hearing on the point of maintainability.
The court also asked the parties to file replies if they wanted to do so, within eight weeks.
The court refused to grant any interim relief prayed by the petitioners that supplementary polls be held in these constituencies, where names of voters were found deleted in the voters’ list and allow them to cast their vote.
The court also rejected the prayer to restrain the declaration of election results for Lok Sabha polls 2014 and appointing an special investigation team (SIT) headed by a retired supreme court or high court judge to hold an inquiry into the deletion of voters.
The judges further rejected the challenge to the validity of Section 23(3) of the Representation of People Act, 1950 and Article 329 of the Constitution of India, which imposes a bar on the court to interfere in electoral matters.
The court held that the voters’ list be updated in view of the assembly elections to be held later this year and asked the state to advertise in three newspapers each in Pune and Mumbai to inform the people that the electoral rolls were being revised and take note of their suggestions or objections.