Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar has issued instructions to election authorities to reverify all applications seeking inclusion of names in the voters list that have been rejected without reason.
This comes after Kumar pulled up officials in the Mahadevapura Assembly constituency, where it was found that more than 8,000 Form-6 applications (for inclusion of name in the electoral rolls) citizens submitted online over a period of time had been summarily rejected. These include applications submitted through the National Voters Services Portal (NSVP) or the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officers website.
In Mahadevapura, election officials from the BBMP summarily rejected 8,867 out of 13,395 online applications. Kumar held an audit of the applications on Tuesday after citizens group Whitefield Rising, which has been pursuing the issue, petitioned him recently.
“Theres a difference between the Karnataka website and the NSVP system. In the letter, you cannot download the form, but you only get an acknowledgement number. Forms have to be downloaded by the electoral registration officer that will be referred to the booth-level officers who will verify on the house. The summary rejection happened because of a lack of understanding on the part of the officials,” Kumar said. “An instruction has been issued now that applications that have been summarily rejected must be rechecked.”
Kumar, however, maintained that the number of summary rejections “were not as high as 30 lakh previously.” According to sources, nearly 45,000 applications submitted by citizens through the NSVP are stuck in limbo as officials are unaware of the protocols to be followed.
“The chief electoral officers audit revealed that 66% of online applications had been rejected as against 24% of the manual applications,” Whitefield Rising member Nitya Ramakrishnan said. “If an application is rejected, officials have to provide Form-12. Also, when an application is submitted, it should be noted down and a serial numbered acknowledgement given on the spot. The entire process should be streamlined to prevent voter disenfranchisement.”
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