THE row over missing names from the electoral rolls in Pune has highlighted several issues plaguing the poll process in the district. As per official figures, there are around 65 lakh registered voters in the district, but many say this figure is inaccurate and allege that the names of more than one lakh voters are missing from the voters’ list in Pune city alone.
The preparation work of the electoral rolls is entrusted with the district collectorate. A Right to Information (RTI) application filed by advocate Anupam Saraph has shown that the process is riddled with flaws. Saraph, who has pursued the matter since 2009, claims that the electoral rolls are not being prepared as per norms.
Electoral rolls across the country are prepared as per the Registration of Electoral Rule, 1960. Saraph pointed out how section 60 of this rule makes it mandatory that the rolls are arranged according to house numbers, but this was not done in Pune. “The electoral rolls are made at random, with no address being more than 10 characters,” he said.
Saraph said in 2011, the Central Election Commission (CEC) had issued directions to prepare the electoral rolls by conducting door-to-door survey. “School teachers were roped in to do the survey but the compilation of the rolls were not prepared as per the rules,” he claimed.
Saraph said the Act says that for the purpose of preparing the roll, the registry of births and deaths of the region are needed. However, RTI documents accessed by Saraph showed that this was not taken into consideration.
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Saraph alleged that another issue with the electoral rolls was that they don’t match with Census data.