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SC seeks poll panel's response on plea on delay in voter turnout data publication

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to file its response on an application seeking direction to immediately upload accounts of votes recorded at all polling stations after the close of polling of each phase in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha election.

A bench Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwalaand Manoj Misra granted ECI one week to file its response and posted the matter for hearing on May 24.

The apex court was hearing an application filed by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms alleging inordinate delay in the publication of voter turnout data of the first two phases of polling in the elections.

The application, besides the delay in publishing the voter turnout details, said there was a sharp spike in figures from the initial voter turnout percentages released by the Election Commission.

The plea sought a direction to the Election Commission to provide tabulated polling station-wise data in absolute figures of the number of votes polled as recorded, in Form 17C Part-I, after each phase of polling in the ongoing 2024 Lok Sabha elections and also a tabulation of constituency-wise figures of voter turnout in absolute numbers in the on-going 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

It further asked for uploading on the ECI website the scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part- II, which contained the candidate-wise result of counting after the compilation of the results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The application said the voter turnout data for the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections were published by the ECI on April 30, after 11 days of the first phase of polling held on April 19 and four days after the second phase of polling held on April 26.

It said that the data published by the ECI in its April 30 press release showed a sharp increase (by about 5-6 per cent) from the initial percentages announced by it on the polling day.

The NGO pointed out the data published in the press release by the ECI on April 30, (Phase I voter turnout- 66.14 per cent and Phase II voter turnout - 66.71 per cent) when compared with the initial data of April 19, and April 26, respectively, showed an increase of nearly 6 per cent in the Phase I data and an increase of approximately 5.75 per cent in the Phase II data. 

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