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The Gujarat High Court Friday issued notices to the state election commission and the state government on a public interest lawsuit alleging serious irregularities in the electoral rolls prepared for elections to civic and local self-governance bodies.

Hearing the petition filed by Congress’ state unit chief Siddharth Patel, a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice K.M. Thaker issued notices to the respondents and posted the matter for further hearing Aug 30.

Patel, legislator from Dabhoi in Baroda, had sought the court’s directions for revision of the electoral roll to hold elections of municipal corporations, municipalities, district and taluka panchayats in the state.

He alleged that serious illegalities and irregularities have been committed while preparing the electoral roll, claiming that a large number of voters’ names were duplicated in as many as seven constituencies. ‘

Duplications were made in more than one manner and methodology. More than one registration was made on a single elector’s identity card. Some electors’ names were duplicated with some having the ID and some without the ID,’ he alleged.

Patel also mentioned in his petition that same names and Election Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) number were duplicated in more than one constituency.

The petitioner submitted that the electoral roll which was the basic document, on which the electoral process is founded, was defective and thus the holding of free and fair election would be frustrated.

Patel also raised objections on e-voting system to be introduced in the civic bodies’ elections slated for October this year. He claimed that in the light of the evident irregularities in current voters’ list, the system of e-voting could be defrauded or may malfunction, hence it could not be considered trustworthy.

He claimed that the poll panel did not have proper infrastructure to provide the said facility. Moreover it lacked practical knowledge of the operability of the system including the software for e-voting, he added.

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