Madras HC rejects Pondy BJP stand on access to voters' numbers

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Chennai, Apr 1 (PTI) Expressing dissatisfaction over the response of Puducherry unit of the BJP that mobile numbers of local voters were collected by party workers over a period of time, the Madras High Court on Thursday directed the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Election Commission (EC) to probe into the matter.

When the PIL petition by A Anand, president of the Puducherry unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) came up for further hearing, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy found something fishy.

The UIDAI should pursue the matter involving a breach in the maintenance of secrecy, without any attempt to cover up the issue, the judges said.

The EC should also deal with the perceived breach of code of conduct without putting a lid on the issue and a separate criminal investigation against the party should go on.

The petitioner has alleged that the local BJP candidates had obtained the cell phone numbers from the UIDAI and were creating WhatsApp groups in their respective constituencies for targeted campaigning.

Besides achieving 'unfair political mileage' by resorting to this form of campaigning without necessary permission from the EC, the privacy of the citizens was also seriously breached.

'This huge aspect of the matter should not be lost in the politics of the season or the hullaballoo of the attendant campaigning,' the bench added and posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks. PTI COR ROH ROH