Hyderabad: Minister K.T. Rama Rao has sent SOS to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh seeking immediate intervention in restoring the voting rights of 35,000 electors who were deleted from eight wards of the Secunderabad Cantonment Board (SCB).
In a letter, he urged Rajnath Singh to allow 35000 people to exercise their right to franchise. Elections for the board members will be held on April 30, 2023. KTR said that it is a completely illegal and unconstitutional act as none of the electors whose names were deleted from the list was given any show cause notice.
“These electors and their families have been residing in Secunderabad Cantonment Board limits over the past 75 years. Such incidents are intimidating these electors as such an act is indirectly or directly posing a threat to their identity, while they are very much the citizens of India who are residing in Telangana State,” said KTR.
The Minister stated that the SCB's removal of names from the voter list is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and the board cannot take away the right to vote and the right to contest in the election.
He expressed disappointment in the SCB's lack of recognition for its voters and pointed out that there has been no increase in voter numbers since five years ago. In 2018, 1,91,849 voters have been reduced to 1,32,722 voters, he said.
KTR also noted that the relevant law relating to the preparation of the voter list for a Cantonment is imbibed in Sections 27 and 28 of the Cantonment Act. He believes that none of the electors breached these sections and is being penalized by the SCB by removing their names from the voters' list arbitrarily. “So far, no court in the country has given a judgment that declares any of these individuals to be a non-resident of the SCB, and the SCB has never issued a notice to any of these persons indicating that they are not a resident or an inhabitant of a Cantonment Board,” he said.
The Minister highlighted that the voters from SCB have been executing all their duties including payment of electricity and water bills, and exercising their right to vote in various elections, which include SCB, Assembly, and Parliament. He sought immediate intervention from the Defence Minister in resolving the issue.