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SC to hear on May 13 plea to advance poll timing in LS election

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear on May 13 a plea seeking a direction to the Election Commission to advance the poll timing to 5.30 am from 7 am for the remaining phase of the Lok Sabha polls due to heatwave conditions and the ongoing holy month of Ramzan.

The plea was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna which said it would be heard by a vacation bench on May 13.

On May 2, the top court had asked the poll panel to pass "necessary orders" on a representation seeking advancing of the voting timing from 7 am for the remaining phase of the Lok Sabha polls.

The Election Commission (EC) on May 5 had rejected the representation in this regard.

Following the poll panel's decision, advocate Mohammad Nizamuddin Pasha has approached the apex court seeking a direction to the EC to advance the voting timing to 5.30 am or 6 am instead of the notified 7 am in view of the heat condition and onset of Ramzan.

He said, in the plea, that poll panel has turned down his representation as being "administratively not feasible".

"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 the 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 said.

The petitioner has also sought quashing of the EC's May 5 order.

Polling for the sixth and seventh phases of the ongoing general elections will be held on May 12 and May 19, respectively.

The petitioner had earlier told the top court that during Ramzan, Muslims keep fast and do not consume food or water from one-and-a-half hours before dawn till dusk every day.

The plea had said that the Indian Meteorological Department has issued warnings indicating severe heatwave conditions over the next few days, with temperatures rising up to five degrees Celsius than normal in poll bound areas of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 10 2019. 21:06 IST