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Supreme Court issues notice to ECI on plea seeking voter turnout within 48 hours of polling

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of the Election Commission of India (ECI) on a petition seeking disclosure of final authenticated data of voter turnout in all polling stations, including the number of votes polled in the Lok Sabha elections 2024 within 48 hours of voting.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra asked Advocate Amit Sharma, appearing for the ECI, about the difficulty faced by the Commission in putting up the voter turn out details on its website.

The Counsel replied that the process took time as the Commission had to collect a lot of data.

When the Bench said that every Returning Officer submitted data on the app by evening, the ECI counsel replied that not all data was instantly available.

The Apex Court directed the Commission to file its reply within a week and listed the case for further hearing on May 24.

Filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) in a 2019 case, the petition highlighted that the data published on April 30 showed a sharp increase of about 5-6 percent in final voter turn out as compared to the initial percentages announced by ECI on the day of polling.

This, coupled with the delay in announcing the voter turn out, led to concerns among voters and political parties about the correctness of such data, it added.

The application sought directions to the ECI to upload scanned, legible copies of Form 17C Part-I (Account of Votes Recorded), on its website.

It said the data should be uploaded after each phase of polling in the ongoing 2024 elections and must provide constituency and polling station-wise figures of voter turnout in absolute numbers and in percentage form.

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