SC declines directive to ECI on voter turnout disclosure...

The supreme court on friday declined to issue any directives to the election commission of india (ECI) regarding a plea demanding the immediate disclosure of authenticated voter turnout records, emphasising the necessity of a “hands-off approach” given that the lok sabha elections are currently underway. A vacation bench of justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma highlighted the potential implications of judicial interference in the electoral process during an active election period, stressing that such actions could disrupt the ongoing procedures.

“We can’t interrupt something that’s already underway... In between elections, hands-off approach has to be taken. Let the application be heard along with the main writ petition. We cannot interrupt the process. Let us have some trust in the authority,” the bench remarked while deferring the plea by non-profit Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) for immediate publication of booth-wise absolute number of voter turnout on the ECI website. A similar petition by former trinamool congress parliamentarian Mahua Moitra, who is a candidate from the Krishnanagar seat in West Bengal, was also listed along with ADR’s plea.

The bench, taking note of submissions by senior counsel Maninder Singh, who appeared for ECI, said that plea was moved after the election process had already begun, and therefore it would not be prudent, especially in the light of settled judicial precedents, to address such concerns during the election process. “It’s an election spread over seven phases. Tomorrow is the sixth phase. This particular compliance that you are asking for will require manpower and regulatory compliance,” the bench told senior counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for ADR, and senior counsel abhishek Manu Singhvi, who represented Moitra.

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