“Aa bail mujhe maar”, says SC about poll panel’s Voter Turnout app


PTI, May 26, 2024, 11:21 AM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday cited the Hindi proverb “aa bail mujhe maar” to explain the plight of the Election Commission over a mobile application it has launched to provide the public real-time estimated voter turnout data despite the absence of any statutory obligation.

The ‘Voter Turnout’ mobile app, according to the EC website, is designed to show the estimated voter turnout for each state which can further be drilled down to parliamentary and assembly constituency level.

The remark was made when a vacation bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma was hearing a plea for uploading polling booth-wise voter turnout data in “absolute numbers” on the EC’s website during the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

Justice Datta recalled that while hearing a plea of NGO ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’, which sought a direction for reverting to the old practice of using paper ballots in elections, the bench had asked the poll panel about the voter turnout app.

“I had specifically asked him (EC counsel Maninder Singh) about the voter turnout app and whether there was any statutory requirement to upload data on a real time basis. To which he (Singh) replied that there are no such statutory requirements and ECI is doing so for fairness and transparency,” Justice Datta said.

“That day I did not say anything in open court but today I am willing to say something. It is like ‘Aa Bail Mujhe Maar’ (to invite trouble),” he said referring to the criticism the Election Commission is facing over its alleged reluctance in putting in public domain full voter turnout data promptly.

Justice Datta was part of the bench along with Justice Sanjiv Khanna which rejected the NGO’s plea for going back to ballot papers on April 26.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, who was appearing for the NGO, said people have full faith in the Election Commission which should not misunderstand them.

“People are entitled to know. If we can point out something which can strengthen the election process, why should we be shut out? ECI has the wherewithal to give exact figures of Form 17C. It can be updated by adopting the latest technology. Estimated figures are causing some anxiety,” he said.

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