Perinthalmanna election: HC express concern over missing postal ballots

Photo: VK Aji/ Mathrubhumi

Kochi: Expressing concern over one of the postal ballot boxes going missing from a government office, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday said that the matter was serious.

One of the three ballot boxes containing uncounted postal votes of the 2021 Kerala Assembly polls from the Perinthalmanna constituency went missing from the treasury office and was later recovered from another office.

Justice A Badharudeen’s reaction came while the HC was considering the plea filed by LDF independent candidate in the poll, KPM Mustafa, questioning the victory of UDF’s Najeeb Kanthapuram. Najeeb had won the Assembly election by a narrow margin of 38 votes.

The court has directed to forward the report submitted by the sub collector on the missing incident to the complainant and the defendant. The HC has also asked the Election Commission (EC) and the sub collector to be added as parties in the case.

The box went missing from the strongroom of the Perinthalmanna sub registrar office and was later recovered from the office of the District Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies. The box was produced before the court on Tuesday morning.

Najeeb’s counsel argued that the boxes going missing was a serious matter. They also sought an investigation into the incident under the supervision of the court or the EC.

The court has directed that the boxes should be kept in the safe custody of the HC. It also stated that a decision on investigation into the matter would be taken after hearing both sides.

The petitioner and others have sought time to file a reply on the sub collectors report. Considering this, the court has adjourned the hearing of the plea till January 31.

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