Friday, Jun 02, 2023 | New Delhi 31*C

After 48 hours of polling, why doesn't the Election Commission want to release the data of Form 17C, What is Form 17C?

Five phases of Lok Sabha elections are over, the upcoming sixth phase will be held tomorrow Saturday 25th May. But many issues are being discussed regarding the election.
2 Month ago

The Association for Democratic Reforms, short for ADR, has alleged irregularities in the voting. ADR has reached the Supreme Court for this. And demanded that the voting data be released within 48 hours of the completion of polling. The Election Commission, however, does not seem to be in favor of ADR's demand.

Amid the Lok Sabha elections, Form 17C has become a frequent topic of discussion in the country. The Election Commission, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, said that the uploading of Form 17C on the Commission's website is likely to raise doubts about the veracity of the data and in such a situation may cause inconvenience and mistrust among voters. The margin of victory and defeat in any election can be very small.

In such cases, making Form 17C public may create confusion in the minds of the electorate about the total polling figures, as the post-poll figures will include the votes cast as per Form 17C as well as the votes cast by postal ballot. Voters will not easily understand the difference between votes received under 17C and votes received through postal ballot.

Earlier, in a petition in the Supreme Court by the NGO Association for Democratic Reforms, it sought to make public the final certified data of polling at all polling stations, including the number of votes cast in the Lok Sabha elections, within 48 hours of the completion of polling. The Election Commission has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court requesting the rejection of ADR's petition.

What is Form 17C?

Under the Election Rules, 1961, the record of votes cast at each polling station across the country is recorded in Form 17C. This includes code number and name of polling station, number of voters (Form 17A), number of voters who did not vote, number of voters who were not allowed to vote, number of votes registered (from EVM data). Number of votes rejected, reasons for rejection, number of accepted votes, data about postal ballot. All these data are recorded by the polling officers and the data is verified by the presiding officer of that booth.

The second part of Form 17C is also very important. This part deals with the day of counting of votes. It contains a record of each candidate's votes. It is recorded on the day of calculation. It contains the name of the candidate and the information about the votes received. This shows whether the total votes counted from that booth is equal to the total votes cast or not. This arrangement has been made to prevent manipulation of votes by any party. This data is recorded by the counting center inspector. Each candidate has to sign the form himself or by his representative, which is verified by the Returning Officer.

Why is 17C important?

Polling data can be used to legally challenge election results. Where the reliability of the electronic voting machine is already being questioned. Therefore, the data in Form 17C can prevent electoral fraud.

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