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SC asks EC to make stand clear

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, March 12 - The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Election Commission of India to spell out the action it will take regarding the names that reflect in the electoral rolls but not in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna gave the direction in response to a petition seeking voting rights for persons whose names do not figure in the NRC. The court was hearing a plea that five categories of people in Assam were being deprived of their voting rights.

A PIL by two Assam-based residents, Gopal Seth and Susanta Sen, alleged that several categories of people in Assam have been deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Last Friday, the apex court had sought personal appearance of the Secretary of the Election Commission to clarify its stance. The Bench asked the Election Commission to furnish details of the enrolments and deletions of names from the electoral rolls in Assam between January 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019.

The counsel for the Election Commission, senior advocate Vikas Singh had claimed that the petition was filed on the false grounds that names of petitioners were deleted from the voters list. Singh said the petition was �premised on perjury statements�, given that the names of the petitioners have reflected in the voters lists for the last three years.

The court directed Singh to put his submissions on record.

On the allegations that names were being dropped from electoral rolls based on the NRC, the Election Commission told the court that it has not deleted any names from the voters list on the basis of the NRC.

As was reported, the Supreme Court had said that it is not inclined to suspend NRC works till the Lok Sabha elections 2019 are over. The court had also pulled up the Central and State governments for purportedly delaying the finalisation of the NRC.

Assam�s Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Sahu said that anyone whose name was listed on the electoral rolls may vote in the Lok Sabha polls.

While Seth is a resident of North 24 Parganas in West Bengal, Sen claims to be a resident of Sivasagar district. Both reside in Sivasagar district at the moment. Their names have been deleted from the draft NRC. Both used to be voters of Sivasagar Assembly constituency in previous elections.

The petitions have claimed that their names have been dropped from the voters list on the ground that they do not find mention in the draft NRC.

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