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HC issues directives to prevent double voting

Absentee and shifted voters to be permitted leave booths only after indelible ink has dried

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the Election Commission and all the functionaries under the election laws to take all the possible steps to prevent double voting or impersonated voting.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chali also ordered the EC and Chief Electoral Officer to give a public notice cautioning the voters that strict action would be taken against those who attempt to cast multiple votes.

The Bench issued the directives while disposing of a writ petition filed by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, seeking a directive to delete or freeze the multiple entries of names in the electoral roll.

The court ordered that the polling officials should take photographs of all ASD (Absentees, Shifted and Dead) voters identified in the polling booths and should also obtain the declaration from all the absentee and shifted voters, in terms of Section 31 of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. The signature and thumb of impression of all the absentee and shifted voters should also be obtained.

The Bench also directed that all the photographs of the ASD voters taken in the booths be collected, digitised, and kept by the Election Commission.

The court directed the Election Commission to permit absentee and shifted voters to leave the polling booths only after the indelible ink had dried.

The court ordered that after finalising the verification of DSE (demographically similar entries)/EPIC/ASD, a list be furnished to the political parties and Presiding Officers forthwith.

The court directed that all the safeguards provided in the Act for free and fair election be scrupulously followed to avoid multiple/bogus voting, and fair, free and purity of elections be maintained.

The court also directed the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer to ensure that sufficient Central and State forces were deployed in all the polling booths, especially in booths found to be in a disturbed area, to ensure compliance with the court directions and also ensure the safety of the polling agents of all the political parties, and also make arrangements for the presence of polling agents of all the political parties in the polling stations.

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