The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on the pleas of two NGOs seeking a probe into alleged discrepancies between voter turnout and the number of votes counted in 347 constituencies during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde tagged the plea of the two NGOs along with the pending matters and listed it for hearing in February 2020.
The plea filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Common Cause sought a direction to the Election Commission to formulate a robust procedure to investigate discrepancies in the data in all future elections.
Citing the data of a research conducted by a team of its experts, the ADR said there were serious discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies, that is the voter turnout data collated and provided by the EC and the number of votes counted.
It claimed that findings of the research revealed several discrepancies, including those in the master summary of 542 constituencies. Discrepancies were found in 347 seats.
The ADR said discrepancies ranged from 1 vote to 1,01,323 votes, which is equal to 10.49 per cent of the total votes. The plea further said there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin.
The petition has sought accurate reconciliation of data before declaration of results for any election and a direction to the EC to bring in public domain the information in statutory forms -- 17C, 20, 21C, 21D and 21E -- for this year's Lok Sabha polls and all future elections.
The petitioners said that in order to uphold and preserve the sanctity of elections, it is imperative that poll results are accurate and the discrepancies in the parliamentary polls cannot be set aside without a satisfactory resolution.
They said the current statute allows for resolution of a dispute through an election petition but there is no provision available for resolution of doubts arising out of discrepancies in constituencies all over the country.
The EC has not laid down any prescribed system for "compiling, reconciliation and publishing of poll data and therefore, has been evading placing the methodology followed by it in public domain", the plea said.
It claimed that the poll panel neither shared the quantum of discrepancies encountered in the entire election process nor the methodology adopted by it for resolution of the same.