The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a plea by Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath claiming existence of a large number of duplicate voters in the electoral rolls of the state going to elections in November.
The Congress leader has moved the top court seeking that the voter list be made available in text mode, so that it can be scanned to identify the duplicate votes. He said they have already identified 60 lakh duplicate voters in the state electoral rolls.
The Election Commission or EC, however, disputed the contention by Kamal Nath and told the bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan that deletion of 24 lakh votes from the voter list was not done after the Congress brought it to their knowledge, but by way of its own exercise of checking the electoral rolls.
The Congress had written to the EC on June 3 about the presence of a large number of duplicate voters in the electoral rolls.
Alleging that the Congress leader has relied upon documents which he knows are not correct, senior counsel Vikas Singh, who represented the Election Commission, told the bench that it is a fit case for action under the Indian Penal Code for intentionally producing false documents.
Pressing for an inquiry, Vikas Singh objected to the practice of counsel for the petitioners handing over the documents to the bench across the bar and maligning the EC.
Vikas Singh told the court that the EC has to move with the law as it progresses and has to take steps to protect the data about voters and ensure that it is not misused.
The EC defended its decision not to supply the voters list in text mode, citing voters' right to privacy, and said that it is already making changes in its manual.
It said that the manual is for its own in-house procedure and not a statutory rule that can be interpreted.
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