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HC asks EC to debar �D� voters

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 24 � In a significant judgement ahead of the State Assembly polls, the Gauhati High Court has directed the Election Commission of India to debar �D� voters from casting their votes in the election.

The court also noted that �D� voters (illegal Bangladeshi migrants) would also �include the persons whose names are included in the electoral rolls but their citizenship is in doubt/disputed and whose cases are pending in various Foreigners� Tribunals.�

The court asked the authorities concerned to act on a war footing to ensure that no doubtful/disputed voter can cast his/her vote in the forthcoming polls, saying that any dereliction of duty towards implementation of the directions would be viewed seriously.

Pulling up the State Government for its weak stand on the issue, the court observed that the State Government was not adverse to allowing the �D� voters and also those whose citizenship is in question and sub-judice before various Foreigners� Tribunals even though allowing such an exercise was fraught with far-reaching consequences on the State�s socio-political front.

To facilitate the exercise of preventing the �D� voters from voting, the court directed the superintendents of police of all the districts to collect the names of �such persons whose cases are pending in the Foreigners� Tribunals and furnish the same to the jurisdictional electoral registration officer/returning officer towards ensuring that they are not allowed to cast their votes.�

Reminding all the authorities concerned that their allegiance is to the Constitution of India and not to the political bosses, the court order delivered by Justice BK Sharma asked them to carry out the direction on a war footing so that such doubtful/disputed voters are not allowed to cast their votes in the ensuing election to the State Assembly.

�The officers concerned will bear in mind that such dereliction may result in initiation of departmental proceeding including invocation of the provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution of India,� the court warned.

Referring to an earlier case, Review petition No. 115/2009/WP (C) No. 464/2009 (Md Samsul Haque & others Vs member Foreigners Tribunal & others), the court noted that although the petitioners involved therein had been declared to be illegal Bangladeshi migrant within the stream of 1966-1971 requiring registration of their names with the registering authority and deletion of their names from the electoral rolls �but for seven years nothing was done by the jurisdictional electoral officer. Their names were deleted only on insistence of this court in the year 2009 and in between they merrily kept on casting their votes on the basis of incorporation of their names in the electoral rolls.�

The only answer given on being asked how that could happen, �the answer was that there was some communication gap,� the High Court noted.

Noting that as per the State Government�s affidavit, the total number of �D� voters was quite high at 4,06,451, the court said that under no circumstances such persons could be allowed to cast votes.

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HC asks EC to debar �D� voters

GUWAHATI, March 24 � In a significant judgement ahead of the State Assembly polls, the Gauhati High Court has directed the Election Commission of India to debar �D� voters from casting their votes in the election.

The court also noted that �D� voters (illegal Bangladeshi migrants) would also �include the persons whose names are included in the electoral rolls but their citizenship is in doubt/disputed and whose cases are pending in various Foreigners� Tribunals.�

The court asked the authorities concerned to act on a war footing to ensure that no doubtful/disputed voter can cast his/her vote in the forthcoming polls, saying that any dereliction of duty towards implementation of the directions would be viewed seriously.

Pulling up the State Government for its weak stand on the issue, the court observed that the State Government was not adverse to allowing the �D� voters and also those whose citizenship is in question and sub-judice before various Foreigners� Tribunals even though allowing such an exercise was fraught with far-reaching consequences on the State�s socio-political front.

To facilitate the exercise of preventing the �D� voters from voting, the court directed the superintendents of police of all the districts to collect the names of �such persons whose cases are pending in the Foreigners� Tribunals and furnish the same to the jurisdictional electoral registration officer/returning officer towards ensuring that they are not allowed to cast their votes.�

Reminding all the authorities concerned that their allegiance is to the Constitution of India and not to the political bosses, the court order delivered by Justice BK Sharma asked them to carry out the direction on a war footing so that such doubtful/disputed voters are not allowed to cast their votes in the ensuing election to the State Assembly.

�The officers concerned will bear in mind that such dereliction may result in initiation of departmental proceeding including invocation of the provisions of Article 311 of the Constitution of India,� the court warned.

Referring to an earlier case, Review petition No. 115/2009/WP (C) No. 464/2009 (Md Samsul Haque & others Vs member Foreigners Tribunal & others), the court noted that although the petitioners involved therein had been declared to be illegal Bangladeshi migrant within the stream of 1966-1971 requiring registration of their names with the registering authority and deletion of their names from the electoral rolls �but for seven years nothing was done by the jurisdictional electoral officer. Their names were deleted only on insistence of this court in the year 2009 and in between they merrily kept on casting their votes on the basis of incorporation of their names in the electoral rolls.�

The only answer given on being asked how that could happen, �the answer was that there was some communication gap,� the High Court noted.

Noting that as per the State Government�s affidavit, the total number of �D� voters was quite high at 4,06,451, the court said that under no circumstances such persons could be allowed to cast votes.