Chennai, October 4: Counting of postal votes and re-counting of particular rounds of votes cast in EVMs during the 2016 assembly election to Radhapuram seat in Tamil Nadu concluded on Friday, as was directed by the Madras High Court. The registrar of the court who supervised the counting filed a detailed report before it. Now, on the basis of the report, Justice G Jayachandran would decide the election petition of DMK candidate M Appavu who lost to AIADMK's I S Inbadurai by 49 votes.
On October 1, the judge had passed an interim order in the election petition directing the Election Commission to produce the postal votes and 34 EVMs in the high court for recounting in the presence of its registrar general. Since both the high court and the Supreme Court refused to stay the interim order, the election officials brought the postal votes and EVMs to the high court campus on Friday morning. Madras High Court Judge Withdraws Objectionable Observation Against Christian Educational Institutes.
After inspection of the machines, Registrar General C Kumarappan deputed registrar (vigilance) Sai Saravanan to supervise the counting conducted in the Library Hall on the court premises. Even while the counting was underway, the apex court took up the appeal moved by Inbadurai challenging the October 1 interim order directing recounting around 1 pm.
Though Inbadurai wanted the Supreme Court to stay the counting as an interim relief, the apex court refused any such relief and instead restrained the high court from declaring the results.
The main challenge before the apex court was against the decision of the high court in declaring the attestation made by the headmaster of a government middle school in 203 postal votes as valid. The same were declared as invalid by the Election Commission on the ground that the headmaster was not a gazetted officer.
The appeal, which was adjourned to October 23, gains significance since this is the first time the validity of the attestation made in postal votes was subject to challenge.