HYDERABAD: The Telangana High Court on Friday issued an interim direction to State Election Commission (SEC) that it keep in abeyance its circular allowing consideration of votes polled in GHMC elections with "distinguish marks", even though they may not have the standard crossed arrow mark.
Hearing a house motion filed on Friday morning by K. Anthony Reddy, advocate and BJP leader just before the start of ballot counting, Justice Abhishek Reddy suspended the circular. The judge said ballots with "distinguish marks" should be kept separately. If they are found detrimental to poll results, the outcome of that particular result should not be announced.
"SEC is directed to inform returning officers to keep separately ballot papers not stamped with arrow cross marks separately. If the margin of difference in votes polled in favour of first and second candidates is more than the disputed ballot papers, the election officer is free to declare the results. However, if the margin is less than the disputed ballot papers, results may not be declared till the petition is decided," Justice Reddy ordered.
The matter has been posted to December 7 for further hearing. At the same time, the State Election Commission too a filed house motion appeal petition challenging the interim orders issued on Friday by Justice Abhishek Reddy. In the appeal, the SEC contended that interim order of the court amounts to interference in duties of the Election Commission. Hence, the order should be set aside. The SEC contended distinguishing marks under some circumstances can be provided to voters at some polling stations by returning officers.
The appeal petition filed by the SEC may be heard on Saturday by a division bench headed by Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan....