The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a petition alleging discrepancies in the final vote count of Lok Sabha elections 2019. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had come back to power after securing a thumping majority in the April-May elections.

In their petition, NGOs Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Common Cause say they are not challenging the final result of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“However, the issues and irregularities that arose in the conduct of the election are being cited as arguments for seeking the prayers sought in the petition for effectuating free and fair elections, survival of democracy and for the enforcement of fundamental rights,” the petitioners said.

They also raised the issue of credibility and urged the court to “preserve the sanctity of elections”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde tagged the plea of the two NGOs along with the pending matters and listed it for hearing in February 2020.

The plea sought a direction to the Election Commission to formulate a robust procedure to investigate discrepancies in the data in all future elections.

Citing the data of a research conducted by a team of its experts, the ADR said there were serious discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies, that is the voter turnout data collated and provided by the EC and the number of votes counted.

It claimed that findings of the research revealed several discrepancies, including those in the master summary of 542 constituencies. Discrepancies were found in 347 seats.

The ADR said discrepancies ranged from 1 vote to 1,01,323 votes, which is equal to 10.49 per cent of the total votes. The plea further said there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin.

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