The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday informed the Bombay High Court that the citizens who could not vote in the Lok Sabha elections in Mumbai and Pune after their names went missing from voters' list can cast ballots in the state assembly polls.
Advocate general Darius Khambata said that the electoral registration officers will process and re-register citizens, whose names have been wrongly deleted. They can submit form-6 along with required documents for the process, the court was informed.
A bunch of public interest litigation have been filed at the HC, highlighting the issue of missing names and demanding to know the steps that can be taken to restore names of missing voters. A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M S Sonak is hearing the matter.
The advocate general submitted that the revision of electoral rolls in Maharashtra began in 2012 after the Election Commission of Indian noticed that there were large number of bogus voters and duplication of names in the state. It was also because the state was lagging behind in issuance of election photo-identity cards to voters.
Opposing the petitions seeking ad-interim relief to allow deleted voters to vote before the results are declared on May 16, Khamabata said that the first deletion took place in January 2013, second in September 2013 and the last on January 31, 2014, and the voters whose names have been deleted had a statutory remedy of raising objections to deletion of their names and then there was remedy of filing an appeal, in case despite raising objections the name was deleted.
During this exercise draft electoral rolls were published on September 16, 2013 and even after the last deletion list a special drive was conducted to register fresh voters. The voters who claim that their names had been deleted illegally from electoral rolls did not bother to avail any of these remedies.
The court has now reserved order for May 12.