EVM row: Bombay HC orders forensic probe on voting machine to establish if elections can be rigged

As controversy over electronic voting machine (EVM) looms large, the Bombay High Court has given an unprecedented verdict in the rigging allegations in the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election.

According to a report in The Times of Indiathe Bombay High Court has ordered that EVMs from a booth in  Parvati constituency in Pune be sent to a forensic lab to establish whether they were rigged or not. The court has asked the forensic lab to ascertain two major facts, amid few others: whether the EVMs can be remotely accessed and whether there was any additional memory chip to alter the results recorded by actual elections.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The matter came before the court when Congress candidate from the constituency Abhay Chhajed cried foul after losing the election to BJP's Madhuri Misal.

The judgment comes at a time when all major opposition parties in India have been crying foul over the recent state Assembly election results, especially in Uttar Pradesh where the BJP scored a massive win. All major parties, including AAP and Congress have requested the election commission that the EVMs should either be shelved nd old ballot paper system must be revived, or new VVPAT machines, which print out the voter's choice on a slip be used across all booths.

The Election Commission has convened an all-party meeting on 12 May to discuss the concerns about the reliability of electronic voting machines and is likely to brief the parties about its planned EVM hacking challenge. Seven national parties and 48 state parties have been invited.

The poll panel has always maintained that the polling machines are using advanced technology and it is not possible to tinker with it's software to influence the outcome of polls.

Therefore, in light of the existing fears around rigging of EVMs all eyes will remain set on the forensic lab's report, which will be submitted in court on 15 May.

If the forensic probe finds proof of any malpractice, it will strengthen the Opposition's allegations that the EVMs are not safe and can be rigged.

Besides, this is not the only case where petitions related to EVM rigging were filed in courts. Delhi High Court is hearing a similar plea filed by the Aam Aadmi Party alleging that the machines in a south Delhi ward during recently held MCD polls were programmed to favour BJP candidate who won the election by just two votes.

The Uttarakhand High Court has also decided to admit six more petitions alleging tampering of EVMs in different constituencies in the state as it sent notices to the state election commission and winners of these seats among others, in the recent Assembly polls.

Apart from the winning candidates and the state election commission, the notices have also been issued to the Election Commission, the Centre and the returning officers concerned.

AAP and Congress have alleged "rigging" of voting machines after the BJP won Delhi MCD elections, and performed well in state Assembly elections.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: May 08, 2017 15:06 PM

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