GUWAHATI, March 9 � Rapping the State Government for its failure to delete the names of declared illegal foreigners from the electoral rolls, the Gauhati High Court has asked the Election Commission (EC) to ensure that illegal migrants from Bangladesh were not permitted to cast their votes in the ensuing Assembly elections in the State, and sought a response from the EC as to whether the persons whose cases were pending before the Foreigners� Tribunals and those declared as �D� voters should be allowed to cast their votes.
Hearing a writ petition, the court observed that while its �tentative view� was that the said persons should not be allowed to cast their votes till such time their cases were decided in accordance with law (as allowing them to exercise their franchise would have far-reaching effect), yet, �before any order is passed by this court, it would be appropriate for the Election Commission of India and State Election Commission to show their response to the question��
The court asked the State Chief Secretary to apprise it in this regard and listed the matter for hearing on March 11, 2011.
Commenting on the affidavit filed by the State Government on the pendency of cases pertaining to foreigners in the Foreigners� Tribunals, the court noted with concern that the process of deletion of declared foreigners from electoral rolls during 1986 to 2010 and disposal of cases from Foreigners� Tribunals � as per government�s stand stated in the affidavit � would take six months.
�This will naturally mean that by the time the process is initiated and finalized, the ensuing election will be over with casting of votes by the foreign nationals including the �D� voters,� Justice BK Sharma observed in his order.
The court further rapped the Government saying that the affidavit was silent on whether or not the names of the declared foreigners had been deleted from the electoral rolls.