Supreme Court Refuses To ‘Interfere’ and Direct EC to Release Poll Booth-Wise Voter Turnout

On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to issue an immediate order on a petition filed by an NGO, which sought the disclosure of polling station-wise voter turnout data to be published by ECI on its website within 48 hours of the conclusion of polling for each phase of the Lok Sabha elections. 

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), sought a directive for the Election Commission of India (ECI) to upload scanned copies of Form 17-C, which records the number of votes polled in a booth.

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Supreme Court is not willing to Interfere

Hearing the plea, a vacation bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma has decided not to issue any direction and intervene at this point i.e middle of the elections, given that five phases of polling have already been conducted and only two remain. It has scheduled the matter to be heard by an appropriate bench after the vacation. 

“Prima facie we are not inclined to grant any relief at this stage.” the bench said.

The bench noted that granting interim relief now would essentially equate to providing final relief, akin to a previous plea filed in 2019, for which the hearing was postponed. Therefore, they have rescheduled it for another date. The Supreme Court emphasized that any decision on this interim plea would effectively be a decision on the primary plea.

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The bench, rejecting the pleas, said it would be difficult for the poll panel to mobilise manpower for uploading the voter turnout data on its website.

“We should also keep in mind the ground realities and not overburden the EC during the elections that too by changing the process mid-way," it said.

The Supreme Court declared that the Election Commission of India's (EC) has itself invited trouble as it planned to introduce an app for voter turnout, calling it a "aa bail mujhe maar" (Come bull, hit me) move amid criticism around ECI.

ECI expressed that it was released to give information on the expected turnout for each state at the parliamentary and assembly constituency level, for more fairness and transparency.


It was on May 17, a three-judge bench led by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud initially showed reluctance to intervene in the matter, but later agreed to list the petition to hear the EC’s reply. The Supreme Court then requested a response from the Election Commission within a week regarding an NGO's request to upload polling station-wise voter turnout data on its website within 48 hours of the end of each phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Photo: Multiple Sources

(Inputs from Agencies)

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