26 Assam Muslim women in ‘D-voter’ list: SC seeks reply from Centre, Assam Govt & ECI
GUWAHATI: The Supreme Court asked the Centre and Assam government along with the Election Commission of India (ECI) to reply to a petition filed by 26 Muslim women from the Barpeta district alleging that their names were arbitrarily placed in the ‘doubtful voter’ list for the last 23 years.
The development came at a time when the state has been knocking at its assembly election later this month.
The petitioners had filed an application in 2019 under the Right to Information Act seeking a copy of the report on the basis of which they were marked as D-voters. Subsequently, the electoral registration officer (ERO) responded, “As per records, the D-mark is seen to have been put in the year 1997, but no such records of putting the D-mark is available in the office. No records of putting the D-mark are available.”
The petitioners sought the SC’s intervention for removal of their D-voter status.
“The implication of ‘D’ mark against an individual’s name in the voter list is far-reaching and includes the denial of basic human rights, constitutional rights, and other statutory rights, like denial of ration and the right to vote among others,” the petition said.
They said that placing them on the D-voter list had led to the loss of livelihood and hindered access to government entitlements like the right to food, education and healthcare besides stigma.
“The main point requires consideration,” a bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices L N Rao and SR Bhat said.
The bench asked the respondents to file their replies to the petition within four weeks.