Madras HC restrains poll panel from announcing RK Nagar bypoll dates until voter verification is complete

DMK, in a petition, had alleged discrepancies in the 'mother roll of voters' of the RK Nagar constituency

PTI October 27, 2017 21:23:22 IST
Madras HC restrains poll panel from announcing RK Nagar bypoll dates until voter verification is complete

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Election Commission not to hasten the announcement of the bypoll schedule for the RK Nagar Assembly constituency in Chennai till 100 percent door-to-door verification, as proposed by it, is over.

It also directed the registry to post the matter before the first bench. Justice K Ravichandra Baabu's direction came on a plea by a DMK member for an interim injunction restraining the Election Commission from announcing or notifying the bypoll schedule for the constituency without carrying out a "purification of voters" list.

Madras HC restrains poll panel from announcing RK Nagar bypoll dates until voter verification is complete

File image of Madras High Court. News18

The petitioner, DMK organisation secretary RS Bharathi, alleged discrepancies in the "mother roll of voters" of the constituency and sought deletion of "double and multiple entries", names of deceased voters, among others. Appearing for the DMK, senior counsel P Wilson on Friday submitted that despite the EC's admission that 17,000 bogus voters were found in the electoral roll, it had not taken any steps to "purify" the roll.

He said if elections were conducted on the basis of the present electoral roll, it will not reflect the true result. Niranjan Rajagopalan, counsel for the EC, produced a letter dated 23 October of the Chief Electoral Officer before the court, stating that "100 percent door-to-door verification is proposed in RK Nagar".

He said that in a similar case, the first bench had directed the EC to conduct the election before 31 December and appealed to the judge to post the matter before the first bench.

The counsel for the DMK expressed apprehension that there were chances for the EC to announce the bypoll schedule before the matter is heard. At this, the judge, who recorded the letter produced by the EC counsel, directed the registry to post the matter before the first bench. It also asked the poll panel not to precipitate the matter.

The court had last month directed the EC to conduct "preferably" by 31 December  the bypoll to the constituency, which has been lying vacant following the demise of J Jayalalithaa.

The bypoll, earlier scheduled for 12 April, was cancelled by the EC following allegations of distribution of cash to voters.

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