The Supreme Court on Friday, March 8 asked the Election Commission of India secretary to appear before it on March 12 in connection with a PIL alleging that several categories of persons in Assam have been deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The apex court sought the personal appearance of the secretary as despite the notice being issued on February 1 no one appeared to represent the Election Commission. The categories include some whose names figure in the draft NRC but not in the voters' list.
The matter came up before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices S A Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna. The PIL alleged that a category of persons whose names were deleted from the voter list were some whose names appeared in the draft NRC published on July 30, 2018. The petition claimed these people had voted in the last Lok Sabha election held in 2014.
The plea also submitted that there were people whose names were not included in the complete draft NRC, but they subsequently filed claims for inclusion of their names in it. They had voted in the earlier Lok Sabha elections and were waiting for inclusion of their names.
The third category of people were those who have been declared as foreigners by the foreigners' tribunal as well as by the Guwahati High Court but the court's order was stayed by the Supreme Court. The petition said it is the category of the persons whose names were appearing in the voters' list from time to time.
The petition said the fourth category of people were those who had already been declared foreigners by the foreigners' tribunal and such declarations were set aside by the apex court. However, their names have been deleted from the voter's list pursuant to the order of the foreigners' tribunal, the petition said.
The petition said the fifth category of persons are those whose names have not been included in the draft NRC, but other members of their families, including parents, are included in the NRC and they have filed their claim for the inclusion of their names.
"The above mentioned five categories of people whose names have not been included in the voter's list are going to be deprived of their constitutional as well as statutory rights to vote in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election to be held in April 2019," the petition said.
The petition was filed by two Assam-based residents, Gopal Seth and Susanta Sen.