The Kerala High Court has upheld the State Election Commission's guidelines to prevent bogus voting ahead of the Assembly election. The court gave its verdict on the opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala's petition, claiming that over four lakh bogus votes are present in the voter’s list.
The High Court directed the Commission that it should ensure that people having bogus votes allowed to cast their vote only once. The HC directed that the Commission can take the help of the Central Police Forces to ensure that the election is conducted fairly without any bias.
Earlier, the Commission told the HC that it is taking all possible steps to ensure that the sanctity of the voters’ list is maintained. The Commission also informed the court that no voter would be allowed to cast an unauthorized vote in the upcoming Kerala Assembly polls.
Meanwhile, Chennithala expressed surprise and shock over the Election Commission’s claims that they have found only 38,586 double votes.
On Tuesday, the Commission told the Kerala High Court that they found 38,586 double votes in the voters’ list ahead of the Kerala Assembly elections.
Shocked and surprised by EC’s claim, Chennithala said, “By tomorrow, the people of Kerala will know who is telling the truth. Bogus voting is a big issue and these multiple votes are added to undermine the Assembly election in the state. These bogus voters must not figure in the voters’ list.”
While the EC said they found 38,586 double votes, the opposition leader pointed out that there were 4,34,042 double votes. The EC said that many people are having the same name and address but are not bogus voters. The Commission pointed out that it not possible to make changes to the voters’ list as the code of conduct is in force.
The Commission told the court that they will separately mark the names of all the double voters in the voters’ list. These voters will be allowed to leave their house only after the indelible ink dries up, the EC said.
Chennithala submitted a report to Kerala HC with suggestions of what the EC could do regarding double voters. He suggested that booth level officers (BLOs) should visit the houses of the voters who have more than one vote and let them know where they should cast their vote. Chennithala also suggested that written consent should be collected. Further, the presiding officer should be informed.
“A photo should be taken when the voter appears to cast their vote and must be uploaded on the server. After voting, the photos should be inspected and single votes should be ensured. All these processes can be done quickly and effectively with the use of technology,” he said in his report to the High Court.