Kerala High Court: The Division Bench comprising of S.Manikumar, CJ., and Shaji P. Chaly, J., heard the instant PIL whereby, MLA Ramesh Chennithal had approached the Court for seeking issuance of directions to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to ensure that fake/multiple entry voters in the electoral roll for the election to the Kerala Legislative Assembly were not permitted to vote. The Bench directed,
“Election Commission should also ensure that sufficient State/Central force is posted at all voting places, to ensure fair and democratic election.”
The petitioner contended that there were multiple entries of the voters in various places, which according to the petitioner was about 3,24,441 double votes and 1,09,601 bogus votes in the final electoral roll published on 20-01-2021, spreading over 131 Assembly Constituencies, and in total 4,34,042 double/fake votes in the final electoral rolls. The petitioner further submitted that though complaints were made to the Election Commission to correct the electoral roll, no steps had been taken and the voting is scheduled on 06-04-2021.
Assessing the seriousness of the matter, the petitioner had sought for a mandamus, directing the respondents to take immediate actions, and rectify the electoral roll by deleting or freezing fake/multiple votes and also to ensure that those fake/multiple entry voters were not permitted to vote in the election in any polling booths.
To substantiate his allegations, the petitioner submitted a computerized printout of the voters of 134 Thiruvananthapuram Central Constituency and CDs. On perusal of the same, the Bench observed that while the photographs of the voters being the same, names, booth numbers and serial numbers were different.
The Bench asked the Election Commission of India, whether it had any mechanism to find out the chances of multiple entry, in case of absence/shifting or for any other reason. The Bench stated,
“We are of the prima facie view that there are discrepancies in the final voters list published by the Election Commission.”
Agreeing with the argument of the petitioner that the presence of multiple entries in the voters list would facilitate a voter to cast twice, which is not permissible in law, the Bench directed the ECI to ensure that there was no double voting by any voter. ECI was further directed to ensure that sufficient State/Central force is posted at all voting places, to ensure fair and democratic election. Lastly, the Bench stated,
“To implement the above, steps should be taken on war footing basis. Orders of this Court should be implemented in letter and spirit, without any room for compliant.”
[Ramesh Chennithala v. Election Commission of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Ker 1613, decided on 29-03-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Appearance before the Court:
For the Petitioner: Adv. T. Asaf Ali,
For the Respondents: Adv. Deepu Lal Mohan