The Election Commission has opposed in the Supreme Court an NGO’s demand to upload Polling Station-wise voter turnout data on its website within 48 hours of the conclusion of polling for each phase of the Lok Sabha elections, contending it will “vitiate” the electoral space and cause “chaos” in the poll machinery in the midst of the general elections.

A vacation bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma is scheduled to hear the plea of NGO ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’, which has also sought direction to the poll panel that scanned legible copies of Form 17C Part-I (Account of Votes Recorded) of all Polling Stations be uploaded immediately after the polls.

In its counter affidavit, the poll panel said there is no legal mandate to provide Form 17C to any person other than the candidate or his agent.

It said that public posting of Form 17C – which gives the number of votes polled in a Polling Station – is not provided in the statutory framework and could lead to mischief and vitiation of the entire electoral space as it increases the possibility of the images being morphed.

“The Petitioner is trying to create an entitlement when none exists in the law by way of filing an application in the middle of the election period. It is respectfully reiterated that for credible multiple practical reasons, the result as per the statutory mandate, is declared on the basis of the data contained in Form 17C at the time as prescribed under the statutory rule regime in existence,” it said.

It further said that “indiscriminate disclosure” of Polling Station-wise voter turnout data and posting it on a website will cause chaos in the election machinery which is already in motion for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

The EC also dismissed as false and misleading the allegation that there was “5-6” per cent difference between the voter turnout data released on the day of the polling for the first two phases of the Lok Sabha elections and the press releases issued subsequently. The NGO claimed the final voter turnout data jumped sharply from the initial figures released by the poll panel. (PTI)