ECI has to ensure strict adherence to law on electoral registration: HC

Court disposes of a PIL petition by Bengaluru-based Whitefield Rising Trust

The High Court of Karnataka on Friday said that the Election Commission of India (ECI) would have to strictly adhere to the provisions of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1950, in the process of registration of voters.

Making it clear that it cannot conduct a roving inquiry on correctness of inclusion of names of citizens in the voters’ list or the exclusion of the names, the court said the aggrieved people had remedies under the RP Act, 1950, to redress their grievances on registration or deletion of names in the list.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order while disposing of a PIL petition filed in 2018 by city-based Whitefield Rising Trust. The petitioner had complained that a large number of residents in Whitefield and surrounding areas could not register their names in the voters’ list owing to deliberate inaction on the part of officials of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike in-charge of electoral registration process.

Earlier, counsel for the ECI told the Bench that the commission, from time to time, had laid down an elaborate process for registration of voters based on the provisions of the RP Act, and now the online facility for registering names in the voters’ list was also available in addition to the provision of physically submitting the applications. At every stage the applicants would get update through SMS on the progress if the applications are submitted through online mode, it was informed to the court.

Recording the process followed by the ECI, the Bench disposed of the petition while also taking note that citizens had remedies under the RP Act on issues related to registration of names or deletion of names, and the individual citizens also had the right to knock on the doors of the High Court under writ jurisdiction in case of lapse on the part of the authorities concerned.

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