Mumbai: The Nagpur collector-cum-returning officer assured the Bombay high court that every direction and guideline issued by the Election Commission (EC) will be followed during the elections and post-poll arrangements.
The statement was made before the Nagpur bench of the HC during the hearing of the petition filed by Nana Patole, Congress’ Nagpur Lok Sabha candidate.
Patole had filed the petition Saturday, seeking, among other things, an order to the authorities to ensure that the CCTV cameras installed outside the two strong-rooms in the city, where electronic voting machines were kept, functioned properly.
A division bench of Justices R.K. Deshpande and S.M. Modak sought a reply from the authorities concerned. The petitioner's first grievance was that representatives of the candidate were not permitted to put 1,000 strokes on selected EVMs during a mock trial as per the guidelines of the Election Commission.
To this, returning officer Ashwin Mudgal told the court that it was the officer who would do this in the presence of the representatives of the candidate.
The court then specifically asked the returning officer as to who would be permitted to put the 1,000 strokes on the EVMs. Mudgal replied that there should be no problem in permitting the representatives of all candidates to do so.
To another grievance that only one representative of each candidate was permitted to attend the mock trial of the EVMs, the returning officer replied that two representatives of each candidate were permitted to attend the trial.
One more representative could be allowed as per discretion, he said. Replying to a demand to make CCTV footage available, Mudgal said that the cameras installed in the two strong-rooms were functioning and surveillance was underway.
The CCTV cameras were inoperative for some time but everything was being video-graphed and a record was preserved and available, the returning officer said.