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Postal ballot papers received after voting date but before counting will be counted

As per the provisions of rules 51 & 54A of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 read with sub-rules (1) & (2) of rule 27 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, covers containing postal ballot papers received by the Returning Officers upto the time fixed for commencement of counting shall be taken into account for counting. There is no prohibition in Law that the votes on postal ballots cannot be recorded or received after the date and time fixed for taking poll at polling stations.

General Election to Legislative Assemblies of Uttarakhand, Punjab Manipur, Goa & Uttar Pradesh 2012- Counting of Postal Ballot Papers- regarding.

The Commission’s notice has been drawn to certain Media reports creating doubts about the time limit of receiving back of the polled postal ballots by the Returning Officers. The doubt raised is that the polled ballot papers received after the date of poll are not to be counted.

In this regard it is clarified for the information of all concerned that as per the provisions of rules 51 & 54A of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 read with sub-rules (1) & (2) of rule 27 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, covers containing postal ballot papers received by the Returning Officers upto the time fixed for commencement of counting shall be taken into account for counting. There is no prohibition in Law that the votes on postal ballots cannot be recorded or received after the date and time fixed for taking poll at polling stations.

However, it is further clarified that no application for issue of postal ballot paper can be entertained after the preparation of marked copy of electoral roll for use in polling stations.

The Commission while announcing the schedule of general elections to the legislative assemblies of Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Goa had fixed the date and time for counting of votes in all the States at 8.00 AM on 4th March, 2012, which was subsequently modified and fixed for 8.00 AM on 6th March, 2012. The same date has been prescribed by the Returning Officers under rule 51 of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 for commencement of counting of votes and the same date and time have been indicated in Form 13D appended to Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 containing instructions for guidance of electors sent alongwith the postal ballot papers to all eligible electors.

In this regard, attention is also invited to Supreme Court’s judgment in Ajit Singh vs. Bansi Singh {1995 (4) SCC 758} whereby the Hon’ble Court has held that if the date of counting is postponed, then the postal ballots received during this extended period also should be counted.

Election Commission of India
New Delhi, 29 February, 2012

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