SC agrees to hear plea seeking re-scheduling of voting time during Ramzan on May 13


New Delhi, May 10: The Supreme Court agreed to hear on Monday a petition challenging Election Commission decision refusing to prepone voting commencement time from 7 am to 4.30/5 am for the next two phases of voting to ease difficulty for Muslims in voting during holy month of Ramzan.

The petition was filed by advocates Mohammed Nizamuddin Pasha and Asad Hayat, who mentioned it for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The bench had asked the counsel appearing for the poll body to take a decision on the issue.

Advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for Pasha, sought that the polling in the remaining three phases should begin from 4.30/5 am instead of the scheduled time of 7 a.m. since the Muslim fasting month of Ramzan will be underway.

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She said that the meteorological department has also forecast a heat wave during that period and therefore the voting process cannot be extended in the evening.

The EC had rejected a plea to reschedule the commencement of polls during the last three phases of the Lok Sabha elections to 5 am instead of 7 am due to Ramzan.

In a letter to Pasha, the poll panel said, "The polling hours are long enough (11) hours against the statutory eight hours for the convenience of all sections of the society. The Commission does not find it feasible to alter the existing hours for poll for the 5th, 6th and 7th phase."

The decision came after the court had directed the EC to consider the request made by the petitioner and also take necessary action in this regard. The court also directed the EC to pass appropriate orders in this regard.

India is voting in seven phases for the Lok Sabha elections. There are three phases that are remaining- May 6, 12 and 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23 2019.

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