HC quashes order of state Election Commission

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Patna, Feb 4 (UNI) The Patna High Court today set aside the state Election Commission's order rejecting thousands of ballot papers for counting of votes during 2006 Panchayati Raj elections.

Justice Navniti Prasad Singh quashed the order of the state Election Commission after hearing the petitions, filed by one Meera Devi and Rajendra Prasad Shah, who had contested unsuccessfully in the said Panchayati Raj elections.

In their petitions, filed on June 20, 2007, both Ms Devi and Mr Shah had challenged the Commission's order through which it had rejected thousands of ballot papers for counting of votes, citing those did not bear the mark of ''Swastik'' as was required for casting votes.

The petitioners alleged that rubber stamps with ''Swastik'' mark, supplied for the polling during Panchayati Raj elections, were of poor quality and had failed to imprint the mark during the casting of votes.

They, however, maintained that ballot papers used for casting of votes carried the wooden mark as the rubber with ''Swastik'' mark got damaged mid way of the polling.

In its order, the High Court observed that voters had opted for candidates of their choice on ballot papers and absence of ''Swastik''mark did not make any difference.

The court found the ground for rejection of such ballot papers during counting of votes as ''improper'' and rejected the order of the state Election Commission.

UNI XC-KKS SJC KK VC1916

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