Tripura High Court Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: A division bench of the Tripura High Court headed by Justice Arindam Lodh on Thursday issued notices seeking reply from the State Election Commission, Election Commission of India, TTAADC and other parties regarding enrollment of the displaced Bru migrants in the electoral rolls published for the ensuing village committee (VC) polls.

The high court was hearing a petition challenging the published draft electoral rolls in the run-up to the local body elections of the sixth schedule areas likely to take place in November.

The high court had earlier heard a batch of petitions regarding the VC polls and disposed of all the petitions with an observation. Accordingly, the draft electoral rolls were published.

Advocate Shankar Lodh, who had represented the court on behalf of the petitioner, said, “The main spirit of the petitions arises out of the quadripartite agreement signed in January 2020 pertaining to permanent resettlement of the internally-displaced Bru migrants in Tripura. In the agreement, it was affirmed that all the Bru migrants would be considered as citizens of Tripura and they will be provided with electronic photo identity cards, ration cards, Aadhaar cards and other necessary documents.”

The petitioner, he said, in his plea said that the number of eligible voters among the Bru migrants stands somewhere around 26,000 but in the draft electoral roll only over 5,000 people were enrolled.

“The authorities have argued that just because the rest of the people did not yet receive permanent settlement and address as per the pact they have been excluded from the electoral rolls. This is against the existing law. In our country, there are crores of people who do not have a permanent address but they are still deemed eligible to exercise their universal adult franchise. The Court has admitted the petition and issued notices to the parties answerable within September 26 next, which is the next date of hearing,” said advocate Lodh.

Speaking on the issue, an advocate of the government side said, “The final electoral rolls are yet to be published. It may be revised before the polls. The state government will make its submissions on the next date of hearing.”

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