78. Destruction, loss etc. of ballot papers at the time of counting

  1. If at any time before the counting of votes is completed any ballot papers used at a polling station or at a place fixed for the poll are unlawfully taken out of the custody of the returning officer or are accidentally or intentionally destroyed or lost or are damaged or tampered with, to such an extent that, the result of the poll at that polling station or place cannot be ascertained, the returning officer shall forthwith report the matter to the State Election
    Commission.
  2. Thereupon, the State Election Commission shall, after taking all material circumstances into account, either –
    1. direct that the counting of votes shall be stopped, declare the poll at that polling station or place to be void, appoint a day, and fix the hours, for taking a fresh poll at that polling station or place and notify the date so appointed and hours so fixed in such manner as it may deem fit, or
    2. If satisfied that the result of a fresh poll at that polling station or place will not, in any way, affect the result of the election, issue such directions to the returning officer as it may deem proper for the resumption and completion of the counting and for the further conduct and completion of the election in relation to which the votes have been counted.
  3. The provisions of this Act and of any rules or orders made there under shall apply to every such fresh poll as they apply to the original poll.