Amol Palekar and wife move to Bombay HC over deletion of names in voters list

The two could not cast their votes as their names did not appear in the electoral rolls in Pune

Yesteryear actor and movie producer Amol Palekar and his wife Sandhya Gokhale have moved the Bombay High Court over their names being deleted from the electoral rolls in Pune, because of which they could not cast their votes.

They have petitioned the court that the government be ordered to prepare a supplementary list of genuine voters whose names were wrongly deleted in Pune and that they be allowed to vote before May 16, the counting day. But if this is not done by May 16, the result should be stayed till further orders.

Palekar and his Gokhale have been impleaded in a petition filed by Arun Bhatia, former IAS officer and president of the People’s Guardian Party. Bhatia, who is contesting the elections from Pune, has taken up the matter of the deletion of names of voters. A division bench of judges Abhay Oka and Amjad Sayyed posted the hearing on the petition on May 6.

Advocate Rajshekhar V Govilkar argued before the court that the names of over 2.7 lakh voters were deleted from the electoral rolls. “People were unaware and therefore could not participate in the voter registration process. Voters only discovered that their names were missing on the day of the voting, that is April 17, in Pune,” the petition stated.

The petition also stated that “it is unrealistic to blame citizens for lethargy and not perusing the voter lists. Any citizen who was registered earlier, even voted and had a voter identity card will naturally not feel it necessary to verify if his name is in the voters’ list. He, therefore, went to vote on April 17 in good faith, believing that his name still existed in the voters’ list. If thousands of eligible citizens are prevented from voting on account of an illegal or improper deletion or exclusion of their names from the electoral rolls, it cannot be held that the elections are valid.”

Advocate general Darius Khambata opposed the petition on the grounds of maintainability, arguing that petitioners had an alternate remedy under the People’s Representation Act, and that according to several Supreme Court judgments the election process could not be stalled.

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