The Election Commission today said that there will be no change in poll timings for Ramzan, turning down a petition for voting to start as early as 4:30 am in the last three phases of the Lok Sabha elections.
On Thursday, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had asked the Election Commission to decide on a plea to this effect. The petition filed by advocates Mohammed Nizamuddin Pasha and Asad Hayat said that although they had approached the Election Commission in this regard, they were yet to get a response.
"The petitioners pray for a direction to the Election Commission of India to extend the polling hours during the fifth, sixth and seventh phases of the ongoing general election, 2019 on May 6, May 12 and May 19, respectively, by 2-2.5 hours so as to commence at 4:30/5 am (instead of the notified time of 7 am) on account of the unprecedented heat waves prevailing in several parts of the country and the onset of the holy month of Ramzan," the plea read.
The petitioners maintained that it would be difficult for Muslim voters to queue up at polling booths in the intense summer heat at a time of rigorous fasting. The holy month of Ramzan begins on Tuesday.
Even when the Election Commission announced polling dates on March 10, objections had emerged over the schedule clashing with the holy month of Ramzan. The election body clarified that while it has taken steps to skirt Fridays as well as the day of the main festival, excluding a full month was not feasible.