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Election Commission Asserts Due Process Must Be Followed Before Removing Voter Names from Rolls

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Published on: February 13, 2024 at 00:10 IST

The Supreme Court has concluded proceedings regarding concerns over the duplication of names in electoral rolls, highlighting the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) commitment to due process.

The bench, having considered the ECI’s response, emphasized that adequate measures are in place for aggrieved voters to address errors or deletions in the voters’ list.

Amit Sharma, representing the ECI, directed the Court’s attention to the Chief Electoral Officer’s directions in Uttar Pradesh regarding the revision of electoral rolls, citing the continued implementation of ECI guidelines from May 29, 2023. This contradicted the petitioners’ claim that the guidelines had not been followed.

Sharma further explained that the ECI issued detailed instructions post-May 29, 2023, guiding Chief Officers on the deletion of electors’ names due to factors such as shifting, demographic similarities, and death.

Emphasizing adherence to the legal remedy available to aggrieved voters, he stressed, “No voter’s name can be struck out without following the due process.”

According to Section 26 of the Registration of Electoral Rules 1961, Sharma elucidated that aggrieved voters seeking corrections in their names must approach the Electoral Registration Officers (ERO).

The ERO cannot act unilaterally; the voter must sign Form 7, the Voter Application Form for Objection for Proposed Inclusion/Deletion of Name in Existing Electoral Roll. Section 23 allows an appeal against the Registration Officer’s decision, while Section 21A grants powers to the officer for deleting names in specific circumstances.

Chief Justice expressed satisfaction with the available legal measures for voters to address errors in the electoral roll. Given the detailed response from the ECI, the bench concluded, “Based on the disclosure made in counter…we are satisfied that no further directions are required by the court; we accordingly close these proceedings at this stage.”

Consequently, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Samvidhan Bachao Trust against the Election Commission of India (W.P.(C) No. 1228/2023 PIL-W) was formally closed.