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Restraint on collection of 49-O users details

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday restrained the State police authorities from collecting booth-wise details regarding electors who exercised their option to vote under Rule 49-O in the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections on April 13.

The First Bench comprising the Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition by S.Sathia Chandran, an advocate.

The petitioner, quoting a news report in a Tamil daily, said it was learnt that the Director-General of Police and the Superintendent of Police, `Q' branch, have “unleashed an unsustainable imagination that those who had opted the 49-O option could have links with naxalites.”

The police was said to have collected the personal particulars of those electors who exercised the option. This was not only mischievous, but also illegal and violative of the fundamental right of the electors under Article 21 of the Constitution. The police had no power to take up the exercise which “would certainly amount to violation of the very principle of secret ballot.”

It was against the Representation of the People Act. Moreover, the District Election Officers had no power to furnish the details contained in Form 17 A (to exercise the 49-0 option) to any other person other than Election Commission officials.

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