SC dismisses plea to advance poll timing for last phase of LS polls

The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a plea seeking a direction to the Election Commission (EC) to advance poll timings to 5:30 am from 7 am for the seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls in view of searing heat and the month of Ramzan.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna rejected the plea, saying the notified timing of voting are from 7 am to 6 pm and voters can cast vote in the morning also.

"The timings are from 7 am to 6 pm. People can come in the morning to cast their votes. They (EC) will face logistical problem (if timings are advanced)," the bench told advocate Mohammad Nizamuddin Pasha who had filed the petition.

On May 2, the top court had asked the poll panel to pass "necessary orders" on a representation seeking advancing of voting timing for the remaining phase of Lok Sabha polls, which the EC had rejected on May 5.

The poll panel had turned down his representation as being "administratively not feasible".

Following the poll panel's decision, Pasha had approached the apex court with his plea,

"The reasoning given by the respondent (EC) in its order dated May 5 is ex-facie self contradictory as the respondent claims it has already taken acute hot weather conditions and festivals into account in fixing poll timing but still has passed orders fixing the same standard polling hours that are issued in every election at any time in any part of the country," the plea had said.

Polling for the seventh phase of elections will be held on May 19.

The petitioner had earlier told the top court that during Ramzan, Muslims keep fast.

The plea had said the India Meteorological Department has issued warning indicating severe heatwave conditions over the next few days in poll-bound areas of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

The petitioner had said harsh weather conditions would make it difficult for Muslims to go out and vote.