A petition challenging the deletion of names of over two lakh voters from the electoral roll of Mumbai city and its suburbs was today filed in the Bombay High Court.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah decided to hear on May 6 the PIL filed by two NGOs - Action for good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI) and Birthright.
This is the second petition challenging the deletion of names from voters list. The first one was from Pune voters and is pending in the High Court.
The PIL said that 2,10,123 names were found deleted from Mumbai's voters list which appeared on the website of Election Commission of India.
Most of the persons whose names was found missing from the voters list had neither expired nor had they shifted their residence from Mumbai and hence their names should not have been removed thus illegally.
The petition said they were approached by 6,500 persons, whose names were "illegally" removed from the voters list, with a list of their names and details. Most of these persons had voted during 2009 parliamentary polls and also during civic polls in Mumbai in 2011.
The petitioners said they have filed the petition for judicial redress on behalf of the voters whose names have been deleted and denied their right of casting their vote in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.
The petitioners stated that due to the arbitrary and illegal action on the part of the respondents, the democratic system and the structure of governance in India had been denigrated and its sacred foundations seriously undermined.
The petitioners said a 'Right to Vote' is the fountainhead of a democratic republic and the power that all citizens of a democratic republic have in their hands. A necessary corollary would also be that a denial of such right would amount to enslaving a republic to tyranny, autocracy and a situation where the concept of 'Elected Representatives' is set to naught and becomes farcical.
The PIL argued that a names of 2,10,123 voters were indiscriminately and arbitrarily removed from the Electoral Rolls for the 16th Lok Sabha Elections held recently.
The names of such persons have been deleted without following the due procedure prescribed under Representation of Peoples Act, 1950 and Registration of Electors Rules, 1960.
The petitioners argued that, going by the trends of the Lok Sabha Election for 2009, and assuming that the names of all the 2,10,123 voters were illegally deleted in Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburbs, such a number was large enough to have a bearing on the election result.
The PIL also prayed for appointing a Special Investigating Team to carry out an inquiry within a specified time frame to find out whether the procedure prescribed under the Act and Rules were followed by the respondents before deleting names from the voters list.
If this Hon'ble Court does not intervene and take appropriate action, it will only encourage perpetration of wrongful and corrupt practices by vested interests by carrying out such last minute arbitrary deletions, to serve their sinister interests, political or otherwise, the petition said.
It was prayed that pending the hearing and final disposal of the PIL, the High Court may direct the Respondents to immediately frame guidelines to ensure that persons who are shown as deleted voters, otherwise than in accordance with law, are not prevented from exercising their right to vote at the Maharashtra State Assembly Elections due this year.
The PIL also prayed that the High Court may direct the respondents to immediately set up the infrastructure required in every parliamentary constituency in Mumbai City and suburbs, to permit the deleted voters to cast their vote for the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.