SC to hear plea against deletion of 46L voters from voters list in TS, AP

The petitioner contended that the use of unknown and non-transparent software for preparing electoral rolls violates the right to vote.

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  15 Dec 2022 10:04 AM GMT
SC to hear plea against deletion of 46L voters from voters list in TS, AP

Hyderabad: The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y Chandrachud and Justice P.S Narasimha on Wednesday heard the plea filed by Kodali Srinivas, a graduate of IIT Madras and technology researcher from Hyderabad.

Mr. Srinivas alleged that the action of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in employing software, the algorithm of which is neither transparent nor public, to carry out its statutory and constitutional duty of preparing and maintaining the voter rolls in India, generally in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, led to the deletion of 42 lakh voters—27 lakh voters in Telangana and 19 lakh voters in Andhra Pradesh—which is in violation of the procedure established by law.

The petitioner contended that the use of unknown and non-transparent software for preparing electoral rolls violates the right to vote.

Further, the petitioner alleged that apart from deletion, the ECI linked Electors' Photo Identity Card (EPIC) with Aadhaar, seeded EPIC data with the State Resident Data Hub (SRDH), and allowed state governments to access and copy EPIC data. These should be declared as illegal and unlawful, he said.

He claimed that the ECI abdicated its constitutional duty and statutory obligation to prepare electoral rolls without aid or assistance from the government or electronic databases under their control.

Advocate Gautam Bhatia, appearing for the petitioner, stated that profiling of voters with Aadhar or other government databases is a breach of voter privacy as it effectively creates a surveillance architecture.

Moreover, counsel Bhatia argued that the Aadhaar database and SRDH contains sensitive information on voters, including religion, caste, tribe, ethnicity, language, records of entitlement, income, and medical history which is now linked to voter information.

After hearing the contentions, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Election Commission of India in the plea claiming that it has deleted 46 lakh entries from the electoral rolls in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to purify the rolls.

The Supreme Court observed that this is a pivotal issue that the court has to decide and further directed to issue notice on condonation of delay (118 days) as well.

The case is adjourned for six weeks.

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