Booth-level poll officers to be questioned
The district election department has decided to question the officers who were posted at the booths that reported maximum ‘missing’ voters after Pune went to polls on April 17.
With nearly 1,340 appeals coming to the collectorate and a public interest litigation being filed, district election officials said they had now initiated a “thorough probe” into the role of officials who were responsible for carrying out the voters’ registration drive and submitting a report on the deletion of names in these areas.
“During the registration drive, the booth-level officers were to accept Form 6, which is for new registrations, and Form 7, which is for deletion of names. They were supposed to individually go and check whether the voters resided on the given address or not and also see if their names already existed on the EPIC list or not. A house-to-house survey was mandatory and these officers had to report their findings to the assistant returning officer,” said an officer at the collectorate.
Having received many complaints pertaining to the booth-level officers not doing the needful and even not turning up at the booths, the election department decided to probe the reasons behind the “deletion of names”.
“We are starting with the complaints received by us. We would check with the booth-level officers concerned why the names were deleted and what process they had followed while deleting the names. However, this cannot be done for all the deleted names as that would be a tedious task,” added the official.
On April 17, regular voters were surprised to find their names missing from the list. According to rules, a panchnama is required if any registered voter is found to be dead or not living on the given address. “It is doubtful that the booth-level officers followed the process for every deleted name. If it is so, each of these case needs to be brought to the fore,” said Pratap Gaikwad, who has filed a PIL that was adjourned last week and is up for hearing on Tuesday.
“In our PIL, we have pointed out that there is definite human lacunae. We have recently given a list of all the names that were missing from the electoral roll. The number comes to nearly 4 lakh,” said Gaikwad.
The district collector had submitted the complaints to the Election Commission after scrutiny of all the “missing” names. There were also complaints of new registrations not included in the list. The complaints were mainly from the six Assembly constituencies of Kasba Peth, Pune Cantonment, Parvati, Kothrud, Shivajinagar and Vadgaon Sheri.
Earlier last week, the state government questioned the maintainability of the PIL filed by Gaikwad. The state told the Bombay High Court that it continued…