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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Supreme Court go-ahead to counting votes in Uttar Pradesh rural polls

The court said, “The operating protocol mentioned therein is being and will be adhered to by all stakeholders as well as duty holders without any exception”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 2, 2021 5:12:41 am
supreme court, Uttar Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh rural polls, UP news, india news, indian expressThe Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court on Saturday allowed counting of votes for the Uttar Pradesh panchayat elections to go ahead as scheduled.

A bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Hrishikesh Roy declined to interfere with petition challenging Allahabad HC order allowing the elections and said, “while recording the assurance given by the State Government…as well as the State Election Commission that necessary measures have been put in place in terms of the guidelines issued from time to time, including the recent Notifications dated 29.04.2021 and 30.04.2021” issued by the State Election Commission (SEC).

The court said, “The operating protocol mentioned therein is being and will be adhered to by all stakeholders as well as duty holders without any exception”.

The court said it has been assured that “additionally, strict curfew would be imposed in areas, as may be notified by the authorities, in particular in and around the counting centres, and will be continued until the counting process of the counting centre (concerned) is completed in all respects, including declaration of results. That will ensure only candidates and their authorised representatives would be able to visit/enter the counting centres and gathering of general public is avoided. “Besides, no victory rally will be permitted throughout Uttar Pradesh after the results are announced, or during the counting process.”

The SEC also undertook to do CCTV recording at designated counting areas and preserve the footage for the HC to study them.

The SC was hearing an appeal against an HC order allowing conduct of the elections.

The apex court said that the SEC has “also agreed to notify names of persons who will be in-charge of the concerned counting centres and who will be made accountable for any lapse regarding compliance of the guidelines and the assurances recorded herein, at the given centres”.

The bench said: “That designated official shall be the Nodal Officer to whom the candidates…or anyone interested in giving suggestion for improvising the facilities in an around counting centres can be pursued. The norms specified for candidates and authorized representatives of the candidates in Notification dated 29.04.2021 to produce RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test report or Covid-19 vaccination completion report would also apply to officials deployed or entering counting centres…”

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