Kerala HC directs EC to conduct local body elections as per 2019 voters’ list

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 COCHIN: Quashing single bench order, a division bench of the Kerala high court has on Thursday directed the State Election Commission to conduct the coming local body elections on the basis of the 2019 voters list used for the Lok Sabha polls and not based on 2015 list.

 

The election is due in October-November this year. The court has pronounced the verdict on an appeal filed by the Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front. The single judge bench had turned down the original UDF petition saying it could not interfere with the election process as it had already begun.

The state government and the State Election Commission had maintained that they would prefer the 2015 voters list as using the 2019 list meant a lot of expenditure as local polls were held on the basis of wards as compared with assembly polling booths in other elections.

  1. Bhaskaran, State Election Commissioner said that it will take a decision on the issue after studying the judgment. He refused to see the verdict as a setback.

"We only pointed out the difficulties of using the 2019 Lok Sabha voters list as it has to be recast as per polling booths based on wards in the local bodies. Once the verdict comes, we will go through it and if need be, might go in for an appeal," said Bhaskaran.

Local Bodies Minister A.C. Moideen told reporters that the government would abide by the court order. He said that the government was concerned about only the smooth conduct of the election.

Senior Congress leader N. Venugopal, who was the petitioner in the case, said that there was huge difference in the 2015 and 2019 lists.

"The 2015 list comprises names of 2.51 crore voters, while the 2019 list has 2.61 crore voters. Around 1.2 million voters in the 2015 list have since changed their address or moved out, or passed away. So, it would not be right to use it," Venugopal was quoted by IANs as saying.

As for likely appeal in the matter, he said that local bodies polls ideally be held in October will be delayed. Perhaps, that''s what the ruling Left wants, he said (with inputs from IANS).

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