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Fabricated Documents Filed in Kamal Nath's Plea to Malign Us, Poll Panel Tells SC

The top court took strong exception to the claims of the poll panel and warned that it may summon the company that has allegedly made public the data of voters and pointed out the duplication.


Updated:October 4, 2018, 8:12 PM IST
Fabricated Documents Filed in Kamal Nath's Plea to Malign Us, Poll Panel Tells SC
File Photo of the Election Commission of India building.
New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) claimed in the Supreme Court on Thursday that attempts were being made to malign the poll panel and get a favourable order by fabricating the documents in a case filed by Congress leader Kamal Nath with regard to Madhya Pradesh assembly elections.

The top court took strong exception to the claims of the poll panel and warned that it may summon the company that has allegedly made public the data of voters and pointed out the duplication.

The Congress leader said there was nothing wrong in the submission of the documents and the data of duplicate voters, as pointed out by a private company, has been given to chief election commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat.

A bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan asked senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the EC, to verify from Rawat whether such documents were given to him or were directly given in court.

During the hearing, Singh said, “It is something serious that I want to point out to the court and the act is covered under section 193 of IPC (punishment for false evidence). Somebody should be seriously hauled up for this.”

He submitted some papers with regard to voters in Madhya Pradesh and said an impression was given based on fabricated documents that there were bogus voters.

"Some private company called 'politics.in' has published the data of voters with pictures which the ECI does not do. The petitioner herein has submitted the data relying on such fabricated documents to get a favourable order and malign the Election Commission of India," Singh said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Nath, said there was nothing wrong as the data was in the public domain and the petitioner had submitted it to Rawat too.

"We have brought it to the notice of Election Commission and they have even replied to our representation. What's wrong in pointing it out?" Sibal said.

He said same data was carried and published by electronic and print media also as it was widely available in public domain.

The court said if the documents were handed over to the EC also, then it will change the course. "You please verify with the CEC OP Rawat and inform us by October 8," the bench said and adjourned the hearing of the matter.

On September 20, the apex court had deferred the hearing on Nath’s plea seeking draft voter list of Madhya Pradesh in word format, and said the issue requires substantive hearing.

The Congress leader had said the EC had provided voter lists in word format during Karnataka and Rajasthan elections as also during Madhya Pradesh assembly polls in 2013.

The EC said it received complaints of voter profiling and to prevent the misuse of data it has taken a conscious decision to provide it in PDF format (non-editable).

Nath had said when the EC could provide the draft voter list in word format in other states, then what was the problem providing the list in Madhya Pradesh.

EC had said they have received complaints of voter profiling and therefore a conscious decision was taken to provide the draft list in PDF format. The poll panel said it was done to thwart any attempt of misuse of voters’ data.

On September 18, the poll panel in its affidavit had justified providing the draft electoral rolls in PDF format in Madhya Pradesh without any pictures of voters and said it was done to prevent manipulation of the electors’ data.

It had sought dismissal of petition filed by Nath alleging duplication of names in the voters list as "not maintainable", "completely frivolous" and "an abuse of the process of court".

Referring to the rule of Manual of Electoral Roll, the EC in its reply on the petition said the draft roll is being put in public domain at the chief electoral officer's website in PDF format and it contains only text and no photographs against the elector's detail.

The poll panel had termed providing of draft electoral rolls in word format in Rajasthan as an "inadvertent error" and in contravention of rules and for the same, necessary action has been initiated by the EC and the CEO, Rajasthan has been replaced.

With regard to the allegation of 60 lakh duplicate voters being found in draft electoral rolls in Madhya Pradesh, the poll panel said that it has already been replied to the All India Congress Committee after the receipt of field verification report carried out by the CEO of MP.

"Insofar as the allegation of 60 lakhs duplicate, multiple entries are concerned, it is revealed on verification that the complaint is based on limited parameters of common name, relation and gender. It is significant to mention that the other necessary parameters of age and photo have not been included by the complainant in reaching the said figure of 60 lakhs," it said.

The apex court had on August 23, sought reply of poll panel on the petitions filed by Nath and Sachin Pilot. Nath in his plea, filed through advocate Varun Chopra, had also alleged that in a survey conducted by him in Madhya Pradesh, over 60 lakh fake voters have been found.
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
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