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SC seeks details of Assam voter list revisions


Voters wait in queue to cast their ballot in a water-seeped polling booth at Ernakulam on Monday


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission to furnish the data on addition and deletion of voters from electoral rolls in Assam, as revised in January 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The electoral rolls are revised every year in January.

Seeking the data, the bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, also sought to know the "precise relationship" between those whose name are in the electoral rolls but not in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), to be released on July 31, 2019.

"The question that looms large and what the Court would like to be informed about is the precise relationship between the final NRC. which is due to be published on July 31, 2019 and the electoral rolls. What would be fate of the persons whose names appear in the electoral roll but are not included in the final NRC?" the court asked the EC.

"This is the question which has great significance for the future and, therefore, the Court had thought it proper to require the Election Commission of India to make the aforesaid stand known", the court said, asking the poll panel to state its position, by an affidavit, within two weeks.

The court further directed the Commission to inform it the "details with regard to the revision of electoral rolls under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1950" in Assam, indicating the precise number of names included and deleted from the electoral roll in their revisions in these years, the court said in its order.

EC Secretary Mallay Mallick, who appeared before the court in person, said updating of electoral rolls was a continuous process.

The top court at the last hearing on March 3 had directed personal appearance of the Election Commission's Secretary, noting despite its notice, no one had appeared on behalf of the poll panel.

The court was hearing a plea by Gopal Seth and others, who contended that their names had been deleted from the electoral rolls merely because they were not included in the draft NRC, which was published on June 30, 2018.

Rejecting the claim, senior counsel Vikas Singh, appearing for the poll panel, said the petitioners' names were very much in electoral rolls and none of the names have been deleted from the rolls merely because they did not figure in the NRC.

"We have not deleted from the electoral rolls any name, which does not figure in the NRC," Singh said asserting such claims would cause a "huge amount of adverse publicity for the EC".

However, counsel Pijush K. Roy, appearing for Seth, said that the Commission was not aware of the ground situation in Assam.

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