Source: 
Business Today
https://www.businesstoday.in/elections/story/mismatch-possible-kapil-sibal-questions-ecis-data-secrecy-on-polling-data-disclosure-430651-2024-05-23
Author: 
Business Today Desk
Date: 
23.05.2024
City: 

Sibal questioned the hesitation of the apex poll body in releasing vote-related data on its website. The ECI on May 22 informed the Supreme Court that there exists no legal entitlement to demand the publication of final authenticated data regarding voter turnout in all polling stations.

Congress leader Kapil Sibal claimed that a mismatch was possible in the number of votes counted and polled after the Election Commission refused to disclose booth-wise polling data.

The senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP on May 23 questioned the hesitation of the apex poll body in releasing vote-related data on its website.

“The ECI has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating it has no legal mandate to upload Form 17, which is a record of votes polled at a polling station. Form 17 is signed by the Presiding Officer and given to the Polling Agent at the end of polling. The information is also directly sent to ECl. Now why does the ECl not put that data on the website? What is their hesitation or problem?” Sibal said while addressing a press conference.

“What can happen in the process is the number of votes that are counted wouldin factbe more than the number of votes that are polled. We don't know what’s correct. But what is the hesitation of the ECl to put that data on record, on itswebsite.Nobody can morph it,” he added.

What ECI told SC

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on May 22 informed the Supreme Court that there exists no legal entitlement to demand the publication of final authenticated data regarding voter turnout in all polling stations.

In an affidavit submitted to the apex court, the poll panel asserted that the release of voter turnout information derived from Form 17C (votes cast in each polling station) could lead to voter confusion, as it would encompass counts from postal ballots as well.

According to ECI, complete disclosure of Form 17C can cause mischief and vitiation of the entire electoral space. “In any electoral contest, the margin of victory may be very close. In such cases, disclosure of Form 17C inpublicdomain may confuse the minds of the voterswith regard tothe total votes polled as the latter figure would include the number of votes polled as per Form 17C as well as the votes received through postal ballots,” it said.

In its affidavit, the ECIalleged that the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) undertakes “consistentmalafidecampaign/design/efforts to keep on raising suspicion and doubt in every possible manner and by misleading assertions and baseless allegations regarding the conduct of elections by the Election Commission of India.”

The affidavit noted that such differences might be difficult to understand, and The EC also dismissed as false and misleading the allegation that the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections saw an increase of “5-6percent” in the voter turnout data released on the day of polling and in the subsequent press releases for each of the two phases.

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method