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SC issues notices on flawed electoral rolls

HYDERABAD

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Election Commission of India, Chief Electoral Officers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and both the State governments to respond to a batch of petitions filed alleging large scale discrepancies in the electoral rolls and challenging the Telangana government’s decision to have early Assembly elections.

The counsel for petitioner Shashank Reddy told the Apex Court that the forthcoming elections in Telangana would not be held in a fair manner without rectification of discrepancies in the voters’ list. The decision of the EC in having second special summary revision of electoral rolls taking the qualifying date as January 1, 2018 rather than January 1, 2019 would result in loss of voting right to about 20 lakh youth.

Those who attain the age of 18 years by January 1, 2019, could exercise their franchise if the elections were held as per schedule next year. There is scope for lack of transparency if the polls are held in a hurried manner. Elections could be held in a free and fair manner if the President’s Rule was imposed in the State, he added.

Another counsel appearing for Telangana Congress leader Marri Shashidhar Reddy submitted that there were discrepancies to the extent of about 70 lakh voters in the rolls in the State. He urged the Apex Court to set aside the order of the State Chief Electoral Officer in advancement of special summary revision of photo electoral rolls in Telangana, vide notification dated September 8, 2018. He further sought the court to issue directions to the respondent authorities for taking urgent steps to rectify the discrepancies in the electoral rolls of AP and Telangana as names of over 30 lakh voters were deleted on the pretext that they had gone to AP.

After hearing the case, the Apex Court issued notices to the authorities concerned to respond on the issue, and posted the matter to next week for further hearing.

Petitioners’ contention

The Election Commission’s decision in having second special summary revision of electoral rolls taking the qualifying date as January 1, 2018 rather than January 1, 2019, will result in loss of voting right to about 20 lakh youth in Telangana

There are ‘discrepancies’ in the electoral rolls of AP and Telangana as names of over 30 lakh voters were deleted on the pretext that they had gone to Andhra Pradesh

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