The Madras High Court on Friday asked the Election Commission if the Puducherry Assembly election – scheduled for April 6 – could be deferred in light of allegations the BJP had accessed and misused voters’ Aadhaar details, including registered phone numbers, for campaigning purposes.
Describing it as “a matter of serious concern”, the court directed the poll body to investigate and file a full report by March 30. In its order the court also pulled up the Election Commission for “passing the buck” and urged it to treat the matter with the seriousness it deserved.
“It will not do for the Election Commission to pass the buck in this case and say that the cyber crimes division is conducting an investigation. When the Election Commission is up and about in all other matters and asserts its primacy and authority, it has to look into this allegation immediately and with the degree of seriousness that it deserves,” the two-member bench – of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy – said in its order.
The plea filed before the court alleged that the BJP – which one polling agency predicts will win a massive majority in next month’s election – had wrongfully accessed Aadhaar-linked mobile phone numbers of voters to send WhatsApp messages and invites to groups linking voters at booth levels.
The BJP has said it will file a response in court via its legal team.
Puducherry will vote for a new Assembly in a single phase on April 6, with results due May 2.