Can polls in Pondy be deferred, HC asks EC

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Chennai, Mar 26 (PTI) The Madras High Court on Friday said a serious investigation was required into the allegations that the Puducherry unit of the BJP had access to voters' Aadhaar details and asked the Election Commission if the April 6 polls in the Union Territory could be deferred till completion of probe.

The commission submitted that polls cannot be deferred on mere allegations but informed the court that a show-cause notice has been issued to the BJP.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy raised the query when a public interest litigation from A Anand, president of the Puducherry unit of the Democratic Youth Foundation of India (DYFI), came up for further hearing on Friday.

The bench asked the EC if it would be possible to defer the polls in the Union Territory beyond April 6, till completion of the probe on the allegation that the BJP was illegally using the Aadhaar data for canvassing.

The petitioner had alleged that the Puducherry unit of the BJP had illegal access to the Aadhaar data of the voters and had formed several hundred WhatsApp groups for campaigning in their respective constituencies.

EC senior counsel G Rajagopalan said a show-cause notice had been issued to the BJP calling for an explanation on the matter.

In the meantime, the police were at liberty to probe the source from which the BJP had obtained the cell phone numbers of the voters, he added.

Polls cannot be deferred merely on allegations, he submitted.

The petitioner's counsel told the judges that her client was being harassed by the Puducherry police in the guise of inquiry.

The bench later directed the EC to continue the inquiry and file a status report on March 31. PTI CORR SA BN BN